Millions of BT customers unwittingly opted in to paying £5/month for their previously 'free' BT Sport package can get a no quibble refund from the giant by calling or emailing it, if they've no interest in the full package.
The news follows intervention from regulator Ofcom and comes after MoneySavingExpert.com warned BT customers of the August hikes. We urged those affected to choose between cancelling their sports package altogether, downgrading to the lesser but 'free' BT Sport Lite or haggling.
Anyone who missed that boat and was hit with a £5 bill this month can claim it back. Here's what you need to know.
Who can get a refund?
For those who are billed monthly, anyone with BT broadband who previously got 'free' BT Sport but was charged £5/month from August can claim it back for that one month only, if they complain within 30 days of receiving their bill. Most customers are billed monthly so these bills should come soon.
Those billed quarterly who previously got BT Sport 'free' may be charged three lots of £5 for BT Sport before their first bill shows the charge. They can get this full amount back too if they claim within 30 days.
Sky TV customers with BT Sport but out of contract on their BT broadband are now charged £11.75/month, not £5/month. BT will not automatically give them the full lot back, only the £5. If you're hit, you could nevertheless push BT to refund the whole lot.
Who can't get a refund?
The refunds are only for customers who previously got 'free' BT Sport with BT broadband but are now being charged. Other BT Sport customers who have always paid for it also saw a hike from August (September for those who watch it via Virgin Media) but don't qualify for any refund, though if that's you it's still worth trying to haggle the price down.
A few BT Sport customers who previously got it 'free' may not have been charged £5 at all. Instead, they were moved to the 'free' BT Sport Lite pack (which includes BT Sport's Premier League football coverage but not its Champions League or FA Cup football coverage, nor Moto GP). For them, there's nothing to refund.
How do I get my money back?
- You need to contact BT within 30 days of receiving your first bill (monthly or quarterly) with the new £5/month charge. But you can contact it now as BT says it will process the refund straight away. Update 20 August 2015: BT told affected customers at the time of publication to email it, but it now says customers should contact it via the online form. You can still call 0800 434 6063. BT says refunds will be credited back to customers' accounts.
- If you take the refund you must then choose whether to downgrade to the free BT Sport Lite, or cancel your BT Sport service altogether.
Ofcom stepped in after it received numerous complaints about the automatic price hike, though BT insists its terms always allowed for the refund.
What does BT say?
A BT spokesperson says: "BT Sport has been free for our customers for two years and lots of content including the Barclays Premier League remains free for those that opt for our BT Sport Lite service.
"We have always been very clear that we would charge for UEFA Champions and Europa League football and are delighted to be able to offer it to customers at far more affordable prices than they were paying previously. Our research showed most customers wanted the Champions League added to their channels, so we gave them this option but with an easy choice to downgrade to the Lite package.
"We did this to avoid a last minute rush of customers upgrading and to ensure everyone got to enjoy the start of the season. We have written to customers several times and anyone who misses the information can still downgrade without paying the £5 up to 30 days after their first bill.
"Customers can cancel the BT Sport pack or downgrade to the Lite channel at any time. It's never been our intention for anyone to pay for content they weren't interested in, so we were happy to confirm our policies to Ofcom."