Local MP speaks out against rising BT bills

January 30, 2009 6:17 PM

Mark is calling on BT to rethink the new charges

Cheadle constituency MP, Mark Hunter, has this week spoken out against BT's decision to scrap the Friends and Family discount scheme.

The "Friends and Family" plan allows a 10% saving on calls to the customer's favourite 15 landline numbers, while the best-friend discount reduces by 20% the cost of calls to one favourite number. BT has also announced increases of 8.7% for line rental to £12.50 per month, of 16.8% for call set-up fees to 8p per call, and of 662.7% for daytime phone calls for customers not on call packages from 0.59 to 4.5p per minute.

Mr Hunter, described by the Daily Mail as an MP 'who has championed consumer interests against rising telecom charges' (24/01/09), has asked for a Parliamentary debate on 'rip off Britain' and in particular companies, such as BT who charge their customers a premium if they decide not to use the company's preferred method of payment.

Speaking after news Mr Hunter said, "In the current economic climate these higher charges will certainly come as a blow to those people who rely on the telephone to keep in contact with their friends and family members.

"With the news last week that BT has lost £340 million because of its under-performing global services division, the timing of these changes is suspicious. It certainly looks like this is an attempt to recoup lost money by increase ring charges to domestic customers.

"For many residents, especially the elderly, the telephone is a lifeline of contact with people they don't get to see on a regular basis - including those abroad or in remote parts of the country. Many people can't afford price rises at the moment and BT should recognise this."

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