By The Guardian, Saturday 9 November 2013

My mother hasn't got a computer and could not check what was going on

BT paper bills
Mission impossible: trying to get a paper bill out of BT. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian

I am in despair about the way my 93-year old mother has been treated by BT. It does not appear to be willing to communicate by post, making it extremely difficult for anyone like her who is not computer literate and who finds it difficult to hear some people clearly on the telephone. She lives independently in her own house.

In 2011 BT stopped sending her paper bills. The only way she knows how much she is charged monthly is from her bank statement. She has no breakdown of the costs that make up her bill. In the last few months, she became concerned because her bill was rising considerably: from £53.85 in July, £52.46 in August, £75.54 in September and she has just had to pay £89.24 for the past month.

Since July, both my mother and I have been trying to get a detailed, itemised paper bill to establish the cause. My mother has still not received a bill, in spite of repeated phone calls and a letter to the Durham address given by BT for all correspondence.

However, BT can send correspondence when it wishes, since it recently confirmed a new contract for my mother which she had to sort out quickly if her bill was not to go up even more.

On 6 October, I rang BT again, spoke to someone in a call centre and was told they had produced a "computer accessible bill" (!) and sent a paper bill. I reiterated that my mother was not computer literate and had not received a paper bill. They checked they had her correct address and promised a duplicate bill by Friday, 11 October. My mother has still not received a paper bill. Please can you help? DT,Wallington, Surrey

You are in good company – your complaint on your mother's behalf coincides with a new campaign called Keep Me Posted ( – led by charities, business and consumer interest groups which want to safeguard consumers' right not to be forced to receive only online bills and statements. First, BT told us that the reason your mother was on online billing from 2011 was because she took out its Line Rental Saver Package - which includes online billing as standard. Although the new contract allowed her the option of paper bills, there was still a delay in the duplicate bills coming through.

It apologised, asked its billing section to investigate and put a member of its "high level complaints team" in touch with you. You have confirmed that your mother has now received duplicates of the bills for the last three months, while BT has also agreed to credit your mother £30 to make up for the inconvenience. This should show up on the next bill, due at the end of this month.