Aberdeen South MP, Dame Anne Begg, welcomed the decision by premium rate number watchdog PhonepayPlus that BT should refund thousands of customers who were unfairly charged exorbitant rates for calls to directory enquiry service 118 500. BT has also been fined £225,000 due to the lack of transparency with regards to the charges attached to the service.
Dame Anne had previously pressured the Government to address the cost of calls to the service when she heard of one individual who had been charged £16.55 for a call lasting 7.11 minutes. In total, the individual had been charged £44.94 for five phone calls to the premium rate service.
The watchdog found that BT had been charging customers 59 pence to connect the call and £2.39 a minute for the duration of the call. The maximum cost incurred by one individual was reported to be £81.
Dame Anne said: “BT has been found guilty of ripping off customers who used their telephone look up service.
“Many of the people affected by the overcharging will not necessarily realise why their bills were so high. It is likely to be the elderly who have no access to the internet who have been hit hardest by this deceit.
“BT should be doing more to let their customers know they have been overcharged and how to make a claim.”
Dame Anne went on to encourage any customers who have been overcharged for using the 118 500 service to contact BT as soon as possible to lodge a claim for their refund.