Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Oldham Pensioner Makes a Stand Over £4.50 BT charge

The front page of today's Oldham Evening Chronicle showed a story about John Slater, a 75-year old pensioner from Failsworth, Oldham, who has been fined £13.50 by BT, because he has refused to pay a charge of £4.50 on his last 3 bills he has received through the post. If he had made payments through a direct debit, such costs wouldn't have arisen. Despite being consequently cut off for this non-payment, Mr Slater has vowed to take BT to court over these charges. BT don't look set to back down, stating that their charge for non direct debit customers is already lower than other companies. Read the full article here.

Is such a charge necessary? As a company we do not make such charges. In the case of a pensioner, who suffers from diabetes and arthritis, should BT just let bygones be bygones and not dish out such fines?

Channel 4 have already reported on a similar case back in March, where a customer took BT to court over charges. Similarly, in March 2007, a group of 35 MPs, led by Midlothian Labour MP David Hamilton, signed a Commons motion in protest against the charges. Some people however believe they have got round this problem by simply deducting £4.50 from the bill themselves.

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