The latest sneaky trick from British Telecom

For some time now British Telecom has charged customers on its most basic plan (Together Option One) 4.5p for evening and weekend calls of up to an hour. After sixty minutes the call continues at 1p per minute.

Today I received a letter… I have free weekend calls from BT from now and if I would like free evening calls I can have those too by ‘signing up’.

If I want the free evening calls, I have to sign up to the deal for twelve months. But the really sneaky part, and you won’t see this unless you read the ‘Changes to BT’s pricing and Terms & Conditions’ leaflet that comes with the letter, is that BT is ending the old 4.5p for up to an hour deal.

What this means is, anyone who doesn’t sign up and doesn’t read the new terms and conditions, may be in for a very nasty surprise when they get their bill. Undoubtedly many won’t spot this and will think they are still paying 4.5p for an hour long weekday evening call, when in fact they are paying 90p per hour plus a 6p call set up fee.

Imagine how that could mount up over three months. It’s a dirty trick to lock people into 12 months with BT or catch out those who don’t agree to it.

There are also some conditions about the twelve months automatically renewing and an unspecified ‘termination charge’ if you cancel during ANY twelve month period (not just the first), which everyone should take a close look at before signing.

Fortunately there is an alternative. For more than a year I’ve been paying BT little more than the line rental each quarter. For calls I use a service called 18185.

To use it, just sign up for the service and key in 18185 before each call. UK calls of any length at any time are completely free except for an initial connection charge of 5p and there are good rates per minute for UK mobiles and international (0.5p per minute to the USA). I can send texts from the website for 1p each.

I really despise British Telecom for its poor service, sneaky tricks like this and the way the company did everything to hold back the internet in the UK in the 1990’s.

BT has a long history of sneaky tactics. I remember back in the 1990’s when I first discovered that calls made during the day on a Bank Holiday Monday were charged at the full normal daytime rate. I’m sure most people assumed the weekend rate applied on a national public holiday.

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