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BT Faces £600m Class Action Lawsuit for Ripping Off Elderly Customers

BT-landline-price-hikes

A class action lawsuit has been brought against BT over the company’s supposed failure to compensate elderly customers who were overcharged by the provider for several years.

Ofcom revealed in 2017 that BT’s customers who opted for a landline-only package were "getting poor value for money in a market that is not serving them well enough".

BT subsequently reduced the cost of its landline packages by £7 a month.

However, campaigners are not satisfied, and claim that “loyal customers” are still yet to be compensated for being overcharged.

Justin Le Patourel, founder of consumer group Collective Action on Landlines (CALL), 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."

BT said that it intends to defend itself “vigorously” in court as it “strongly disagrees” with claims that their behaviour was anti-competitive.

A BT spokesperson said: "We take our responsibilities to older and more vulnerable customers very seriously and will defend ourselves against any claim that suggests otherwise.

"For many years we've offered discounted landline and broadband packages in what is a competitive market with competing options available, and we take pride in our work with elderly and vulnerable groups, as well as our work on the Customer Fairness agenda."

A claim has been filed with the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) by law firm Mischon de Reya. If the claim is successful, it could result in payments of £500 each for 2.3 million BT customers, totalling over £600m.

Ian Grant, an independent telecoms analyst, says that BT "has a history of abusing its position.

"Earlier in 2017, Ofcom fined BT £42m because it was late providing high-speed Ethernet lines, and forced BT to make good the losses of firms like Vodafone and TalkTalk.

"Ofcom, which has a statutory duty to stop consumer abuses, could have done the same for these customers. Instead, it allowed BT to get away with a 37% price cut, at a time when the difference between its costs and what it charged customers had risen between 50-74%.

"It is especially poor that BT was overcharging customers who were mostly over 65, more than three-quarters of whom had never used a different provider, and for whom the telephone was their only communications link.”

Harry Pererra
Harry Pererra

Harry turns on his experience in journalism and programming to write about the latest news in the world of tech and the environemtn. When he isn’t writing for usave he is working towards his Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and prefers dogs to cats.

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