BT scrapping customer service charges

BT is scrapping charges for landline callers contacting its customer service and helpdesk numbers.The telecoms giant says the move will cost it millions of pounds every year in lost revenue.

BT is scrapping charges for landline callers contacting its customer service and helpdesk numbers.

The telecoms giant says the move will cost it millions of pounds every year in lost revenue.

It receives around seven million chargeable calls every year, mainly to technical helpdesk numbers starting with 0845 and 0870.

Most of these numbers will be switched to 0800 or 0808 prefixes by April 1.

These will be free to call from BT and other landlines but mobile phone operators may still impose varying fees according to their tariffs.

BT operates dozens of customer service and helpdesk numbers, 92 per cent of which are currently free to call from landlines.

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That figure will rise to 99pc by April 1, with the remaining 1pc being changed gradually after that date.

BT charges 2p per minute for calls to its 0845 numbers during the day and 6p per minute for calls to its 0870 numbers in the daytime.

The charges are lower in the evenings. A 6p set-up fee also applies to these calls.

The firm's managing director for consumer services, Gavin Patterson, said: "We've always had some of the lowest prices for such calls and now we've decided to make them free.

"We call on the rest of the industry to follow our lead. There really is no excuse for companies whose prices are either sky-high or verging on the ridiculous."

BT said the change meant landline callers contacting its broadband technical support team on the 0800 number would not be charged.

It said some rival broadband providers charge fees ranging from 6p to 50p per minute for calls to similar support services during the day.