SPBE billing error: 'CPs in no mood to go through this again', says FCS CEO

The FCS has issued an update as it seeks a swift resolution to a late billing error made by Openreach for Special Phone Book Entries (SPBEs) that has left many CPs owing thousands. This issue is a re-run of a similar episode in 2012 when Openreach included a high volume of back dated charges for SPBEs going back several years.

The FCS said at the time that the total bill was estimated to be over £1m with some larger CPs reporting individual charges in excess of £100,000. After negotiations over several months the back billing was reduced to 12 months.

Following a working group with the FCS on 19th October BT agreed to make some allowances but according to FCS CEO Chris Pateman CPs are 'in no mood to go through this whole process again'.

"FCS members are taking an uncompromising line, and several new companies have come into membership as a direct result of the need to show a united front," he stated.

"BT has already announced some concessions like excluding MPs' and local government addresses, doctors' surgeries and schools from the list. But the industry is still waiting to hear that the position we came to last time this happened is going to be honoured.

"FCS will keep working to try and get all back billing dropped with forward billing only for entries customers wish to maintain."

Channel Telecom MD Clifford Norton received a bill for circa £20,000 back dated to 2012.
"We are again fighting these charges," stated Norton. "The contract should be with the end user and not involve service providers."

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