OUTCOME COULD SEE BRITISH TELECOM PAY OUT £600 MILLION IN PAST HISTORIC COMPENSATION TO THEIR CUSTOMERS
Legal action has been taken by Justin Le Patourel, founder of Call (Collective Action on Land Lines) against British Telecom (BT) seeking compensation for over-charging of BT customers landlines. If successful the compensation claim could result in payments of up to £500 each for 2.3 million BT customers.
In 2017, Ofcom said people who only had a landline telephone were “getting poor value for money in a market that is not serving them well enough”; especially compared to those who buy bundles of landline, broadband and/or pay-tv services. BT then reduced it’s landline charge to £7 a month. Campaigners though have been calling on BT to pay the historic compensation since the Ofcom decision.
Mr Le Patourel of CALL speaking of the Ofcom findings said
“…Ofcom made it very clear that BT had spent years overcharging landline customers but did not order it to repay the money it made from this. We think millions of BT’s most loyal landline customers could be entitled to compensation of up to £500 each, and the filing of this claim starts that process.”
His legal firm, Mishcon de Reya firm commenting on the before the Competition Appeal Tribunal :
“It will take time to gather evidence and bring it to trial, but we are very confident that eventually millions of BT’s most loyal customers – many of whom are older and potentially vulnerable – will receive a significant rebate.”
The comnsumer group Which? said it has been campaigning for an collective redress scheme but because nothing previously reached a full trial stage consumers have not received compensation and stated “..If successful, this opt-out action would be welcomed by many BT customers who were found to have been historically overcharged for years, but saw no refund as a result.”
BT though refute the claim of overcharging, stating that they have offered discounts in a competative market to their older and more vulnerable customers in a statement and added they are continuing support
“We take our responsibilities to older and more vulnerable customers very seriously and will defend ourselves against any claim that suggests otherwise and take pride in our work with elderly and vulnerable groups, as well as our work on the customer fairness agenda.“
UPDATE 18th Jan 2021
We’ve since had press releases from both sides, with additional commentary from BT and Justin added above. The press release from CALL clarified that Mr Le Patourel is also seeking compensation for customers who took both a broadband service and a BT landline, but not together as a package (or ‘bundle’). “These people were excluded from BT’s 2017 price cut, and so continue to be overcharged to this day,” states the release.