back to article BT preps 2000 per cent evening call price hike

BT is in the middle of a massive marketing campaign for its new "Unlimited Weekends" calls package, which will offer free calls on Saturdays and Sundays. There's a doozy of a catch, however: weekday evening call charges will rocket to more than 2000 per cent of their current cost. Unlimited Weekends will replace BT Together …

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  1. Jeremy
    Flame

    They wouldn't need to raise so much extra income

    ...if they would just stop sending me (and the rest of their ex-customers, presumably) massive amounts of crap in the post every week.

    Would you believe that a couple of weeks ago, the lovely folks at BT marketing invested in sending me an A5-sized sheet of 5mm thick, very dense cardboard in the post telling me about some "solid" (geddit?) reasons to come back to them? Must've weighed at least 120 grams or so. Wonder how much they spent on that?

  2. Robert Cunningham
    Thumb Up

    BT rate changes

    Sounds fair to me. Why should people who make no commitment on a contract get the same level of discount as those who do commit. It just seems like simple economics.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does it sell your call records?

    I'm curious. Does BT sell your call log, showing who you called and when. That's stuff that can be obtained without warrant, and so I wonder if the lax way that data is handed around has cause BT to sell it.

    Seems to me letting a company see your surfing record or call record is very very similar and they seem to have accepted the basic principle of selling customer data.

  4. Richard

    Another reason to dump BT

    I've not used BT for my phone billing for years and although BT still provide the line (as the monopoly it is in last mile copper) I've not had ANY issues with any of the virtual phone companies I hopped around between for last 5+ years.

    I'm currently with the Post Office and its really cheap and I get lots of free calls and low call rates. If I persuade my parents to move to the Post Office then all calls to them will be free as well 8-)

    Each time BT changes its pricing structure I have a look but it still is never as good for me to make me switch back .... but then I move my energy suppliers whenever it is cheaper to do so, so maybe I'm just cheap!

  5. Alastair Smith
    Flame

    Cable theft

    Maybe this will go some way towards paying for all the replacement cable they're having to lay around Cambridgeshire...

    Looks like I might be upgrading to Option 2.

  6. Adrian Bool
    Paris Hilton

    OFCOM, not fit for purpose

    Another great example of what a waste of space and money is OFCOM. Miss Hilton chosen as I'm sure she'd be able run OFCOM better.

  7. Paul

    So...

    Not only do BT want to sell our personal details to spammers, they now want to also screw us over with price rises! What's even more annoying is there's no escape...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Value, phaw!

    "...At BT we're always looking for ways to give you more value for money."

    By putting up prices, reducing service.

    I was a BT IDSN-2E home customer and then went broadband when it first became available. About a year later I got letter from BT saying the price was going up and the download limit was decreasing to "improve my service".

    Abandoned them and never went back.

  9. Paul Bottomley
    Coat

    Option Haaaa right

    So as a "loyal customer" (their words not mine), BT call me up and offer me the chance to save £3 a month, by moving to a higher option package that costs £4 a month more than I am paying already!

    Mine is the one with "one born every minute" on the back

  10. captain kangaroo
    Stop

    What The Hell Is This...

    The BT Broadband Basic service allows you the capability of

    transferring up to about 1Gb of data per month.

    We will charge you a one-off fee for every month that you

    transfer in excess of this limit. Charges are outlined below;

    Excess Price per

    Usage Gb band £

    Excess Usage Charge between

    1Gb-3Gb – 1st Gb is inclusive 4.00

    Excess Usage Charge, above 3Gb 8.00

    Excess Usage Charge, above 6Gb 12.00

    They've got to be mad. Is that what people with BT have to put up with?

    pft.... lol, etc...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @so

    So how exactly is there no escape.

    There are more than 30 companies who can sell you a cheaper call package for your phone. OK pay BT The fixed line rental and then pay someone else for the calls.

    Or for 50% of the country switch to Virgin Media.

    Or use VoIP

    Apathy reigns and the incumbant always wins.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Line Rental Only

    I only want line rental - I don't want (or need) Option anything. The only reason I have the damned thing is to get ADSL (nearest cable is 40 miles away). But in order to give me a 'better deal' they moved me to "Option 1" gave me free calls that I don't use and hiked up the price by GBP3 a month. I want "line rental only" - I can't have it because "there's no demand".

    OFCOM are a joke, they call themselves a regulator - I've not seen one positive thing that they've done since they came into existence.

  13. Tim Nicholls
    Flame

    They tried to improve my service once...

    ...it ended up costing me £1600!

    I was an ISDN customer and pre-registered for ADSL. On the day the engineer came to fit it, he noticed that my ISDN router wasn't plugged into the wall and kindly reconnected it for me.

    Trouble is, I had unplugged it deliberately because I'd given BT a months notice and didn't want to clock up any call charges. I used my ADSL connection for the next month without realising that every time I used it, my ISDN line dialled out too.

    The result: a £1600 final bill from BT.

    3 months of letters and they decided to cut my phone off, even though the phone bills were all paid. The result of an 18 month investigation by OFTEL? Nothing they could do. I moved to NTL (now Virgin media) - makes me hate BT even more for forcing me to deal with those morons!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Funny that...

    ... Add to it the fact that the £4.50 a quarter for not paying by DD will now be charged for by a separate company (BT Payment Processing Limited or something similar), and that you are more than welcome to cancel your service with said company. But - doing so will breach your T&C's with BT proper, which will lead to suspension of your service.

    Sounds like BT is reacting to the news that they (along with other telecom companies) are to be investigated for unfair charges.

    "Nooooo, honest guv, WE don't charge extra charges. BT Payment Processing Ltd do. They're not us."

    Bastards!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Those already in contract...

    So will this affect those who are part way through an agreed contract? (ie I'm 6 months through.) I'm already counting the days till I can leave them after my initial 12 months of crap broadband and BT Home Hubs are up!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Paul Bottomley

    Oh yes... I had one of those letters too recently, telling me that as an Option 1 customer I'll be so much better off soon.

    Thankfully I only use BT for line provision, not for any telecoms services whatsoever.

  17. Timbo
    Thumb Down

    not surprised...!

    Well, it's been coming....BT are losing revenue on phone boxes (coz nigh-on everyone has a mobile) and then there's the issue of finding the phone box has either been "carded" (mainly London and other cities) with loads of "business cards" or it's been vandalised.

    By unbundling lines to the likes of Tesco, TalkTalk and others, there's even less revenue coming in.....

    And then there's all this "revenue share" they give to people signing up to 0845, 0870, 090 etc...

    And they are supposedly spending £10 billion on upgrading the PSTN system to 21CN....which as we know is more like a 20th century network, rather than 21st...

    Hmmm.....I've already switched to a good package on my mobile....which includes plenty of free talk time....and I have the benefit I can take it anywhere - it even has a built in answering machine (voicemail).

    My only regret is that for broadband, my local exchange doesn't have any unbundled ISP's....so, I'm stuck with BT for the line provision.

  18. Graham Wood

    @AC

    Ditto.

    I could (in theory) shift to Virgin, but the cure is worse than the disease... Bandwidth at "peak times" on virgin broadband being comparable to dialup.

  19. Adam Trickett
    Linux

    Line Rental Only @AC

    Ditto, all I want is dial tone so I can receive calls. I get my IP from my ISP. I almost never make a phone call, I most certainly don't want OPTION £, where I pay them a fortune for a service I won't use...

    If I could be bothered I'd switch to VoIP I'd not even need dial tone, ADSL would suffice.

    BT are scum and as OFCOM are useless, and I'm stuck with BT. Cable isn't an option and my exchange isn't unbundled. I hate money grabbing arse-wipes like BT...!

  20. John Moppett

    Someone Noticed!

    Odd, but this was first announced weeks ago, and this was the first bit that I noticed. I wonder when someone will have the guts to pass legislation taht will prevent mega-corporations from writing these customer 'contracts' that allow them to change what they like, when they like, and pass it off as a bargain??

  21. Ash
    Pirate

    @No choice

    There's always a choice!

    - You could choose to go with another provider.

    - You could choose to go with a high use mobile tarrif only and forgo landlines totally.

    - You could choose to don a balaclava, black fleece and jeans and start setting fire to the exchanges around the country until they start acting like decent human beings.

    There are ALWAYS choices. The issue is never freedom of choice. It's always how stiff your backbone and how firm your resolve is.

  22. Perpetual Cyclist

    @Tim Nicholls

    Funny that, I had almost as much trouble with NTL as you did with BT...

    Eventually they cut us off and we moved to BT.

  23. David

    Home Hub Phone

    Already get free Evening and weekend calls via my Home Hub phone. Never use the 'real' landline.

  24. Richard
    Thumb Down

    £11....to move from Opt 1 to Opt 2 ?

    Now that's a lot of hours chat before it's worth the change.

    Last time I looked, we spent about 12p a month on calls, and £10 on line rental/VAT

    Bad line rental.

  25. Alan Jenney

    "Customer Retention"?

    Customer Retention? They've changed the package that attracted me away from the other providers, making the calls I make really expensive.

    First thing I did on opening the letter that told me about these changes was consider going back to my old provider again. Idiots!

  26. John Macintyre

    @BT rate changes

    Right... absolutely, which is why when I took mine out just for internet access I was told it was a 12 month contract minimum... no contract my arse

  27. Planky
    Thumb Down

    Money grabbing…

    This along with the pay extra if you don't pay by Direct Debit…

    I am leaving BT as soon as there is a viable alternative, which they do their best to hinder (local loop unbundling).

    Unfortunately the BT phone line is my only option for Broadband.

  28. Avi

    @ac

    The choice is then one between an admittedly decent service which costs a lot, and horrific service which is cheaper.

    Having done both, I'd go with the former every time.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Sneaky buggers

    I've just this morning read through that letter, and I hadn't spotted they were doing away with the evening calls on Option 1.

    The letter says from Feb, "Option 1 customers will have Free UK Weekend calls, automatically". It also says, from April, Option 1 gets renamed "Unlimited Weekend Plan", the price changing from "£0.00"; to "£0.00 plus free UK weekend calls".

    The kicker - that they're going to charge you much, much more for your evening calls - isn't mentioned at all. There's just a line that says "we are making other important changes too", referring you to the small print leaflet. And even there, it's not exactly spelled out - even knowing what I was looking for this time round, it still wasn't easy to spot the relevant bit.

    I don't mind them rejigging their plans and prices - it's just the burying the bad news in the small print that really annoys me...

    Sneaky gits.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Line Dependency

    Assholes!

    The *only* reason I have a BT phone line, is because even with my 'unbundled' broadband provider, I am required to have a BT line in order for them to set up their adsl connection.

  31. FathomsDown
    Happy

    When I read things like this...

    ...I'm so glad I got shot of BT over twelve months ago. I now pay less for my line rental and get all my calls to UK land lines FOC regardless of when I make them.

    However, I still get the "You could save by switching back to BT" letters. Idiots.

  32. Etienne

    Vote with you wallet

    Switch to cable if you can or use the line only for ADSL and make the calls using Voice over IP.

  33. Ian Hallsworth

    At least BT fix problems

    Switched to NTL, phone line went dead within hours, NTL refused to acknoldge fault. They tried to ring me to tell me this. Told them to come and take their line out to which they said I was in beach of contract. Told them that they were as their line didnt work. Told them my partner was a contract lawyer which must have made them do something as engineer came back next day and took line out and BT reconnected me FOC. 2 weeks later fault with BT line fixed within 48 hrs.

    To you lot who say Switch, I say this, Try moving out to 5 miles out of a city like me. At least BT have provided ADSL at my exchange, perhaps if BT were allowed to pick and choose like the other providers you would think differently.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Oh dear - ashamed now...

    Sorry guys/gals (and hence the anonymous coward), I happen to work for... ahem.. a large British Telecommunications company. But nothing to do with telephones and associated lines. But I'll be checking my bill out too now though based on this. What is it with that thing where the employees are the last to know?

    Ms Hilton because I'd probably be rather in Paris right now (ooh an extra pun there too!)

  35. Tim Brown
    Thumb Down

    Moneygrabbers and cheats

    In between leaving my London home and moving into a property I'd bought in France, I rented a flat for 4 months. I arranged with BT to have a phone service there. Everything was fine until I came to move out and they told me that I had 8 months remaining on a contract and they were going to charge me for them. This despite the fact that I'd explicitly agreed with the person who I organised the line with that there would be no new contract. I am now 6 months into a formal complaint...

  36. Mark
    IT Angle

    Are you sure about this?

    The website says that the new "Weekend Calls" package will still only cost 4.5p for weekday evening calls:

    http://www.productsandservices.bt.com/consumerProducts/displayCategory.do?categoryId=CON-TOG-OPT-R1

  37. Tadger
    Boffin

    Better get down to specsavers ???

    I can see the call set-up fee mentioned in the linked pdf - but can't see anything about the 1.5 p per minute ??

    Has my eye sight got worse due to all the 'working from home' I'm doing ??

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I'm probably being dumb but...

    ... where in that .pdf does it say that the option 1 weekday evening calls are going to cost 1.5 ppm. I can't find it anywhere, page 4 lists the price as 4.5p for the first hour & the bt website (see below) also still says 4.5p for up to an hour per call.

    http://www.productsandservices.bt.com/consumerProducts/displayCategory.do?categoryId=CON-TOG-OPT-R1

  39. David Gosnell

    Totally ambiguous marketing material

    The material BT sent out about this was totally ambiguous. It was only in the small print at the bottom that it mentioned you were upgrading to Option 2 if you agreed the new contract, and nowhere would it spell out that you wouldn't be charged extra, apart from the bit earlier that said "free". Hmm, typing that now, it basically must be free - but we'd like to have seen it spelt out somewhere a bit more honestly, with guarantees BT wouldn't try to pull their usual 6-month price hikes etc.....

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Primus free evening & weekend

    http://www.planet-talk.co.uk/SaverProducts.aspx?productdescID=17

    Why not move your call charges away from BT? - I have & just pay the basic rate for option 1.

  41. Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

    Wrong PDF

    Sorry everyone, try this document instead: http://www.productsandservices.bt.com/consumer/consumerProducts/pdf/Changes_to_BT_Pricing.pdf

    "From 1st April 2008 the Evening rate for UK geographic calls will change from 4.5

    pence for calls up to an hour, to 1.5 pence per minute and a 6p set-up fee will apply."

  42. Mark Pearson

    There are choices........

    It's actually not that hard to avoid BT. Phone lines can be installed by the phone co-op. They're practically BT lines in all but name only. I've got freeola broadband on mine - no problems.

    There's a simple way to avoid the rip off charges too. Saver option 2 from primus telecoms provides free evening and weekend calls and costs zero / month.

    Use 18185 in the daytime.

    Read everything at money saving expert.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    OFCOM. this is FRAUD

    "We are trying to move customers to unmetered packages"

    No, what BT is trying to do is to dishonestly get people into 12 months contracts that OUGHT to be free to take their custom elsewhere in only ONE month.

    OFCOM, are you so COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY STUPID that you are going to let them get away with this?

    Its time you did some WORK for a change, and you can start by declaring these 12 month contracts wholly UNFAIR, UNREASONABLE and a VERY BOGUS way of stopping people moving their custom freely.

  44. gautam
    Dead Vulture

    RIpoff Britain again? UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE YEAR.

    Its really funny (& sad) that one can call USA/Canada for 1 pence per minute anytime (1899.com and others) India/AUstralia/Far East for 3 to 5 pence per minute and my next door neighbour for more than 6 pence setup and 1.5 pence per minute! Distance of 5000 miles versus 5 metres. Where's the logic here?

    BT AND OTHER PROVIDERS HAVE REALY STITCHED THIS UP (LLU & ALL THAT. UMBILICAL CORD TIED TO BT). Bcos people need broadband, its a vicelike grip they have on you. As a necessary evil.

    There's just no excape from the greedy bastards.

    Even if there were mass protests a-la French farmers, could we get far ? Unlikely in my opinion. US brits are wimps in that sector.

    Isnt there a lawyer amongst the Reg readers who can take this up as a public interest class action litigation ?

    Blood tears since the regular ones dried up long ago!

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    sometimes there is no choice!

    yes - if you've already got a phoneline you are free to switch to another provider. however only BT can reconnect a disconnected line or install a new one - and this is subject to a 12 month minimum contract. i know because i've just been through all this crap after feckin talktalk disconnected my line; i had to sign up for 12 months with BT just to get the line reconnected - none of the other phone co.s would provide me with a service until BT had reconnected the line.

    so for new lines or reconnections there is no choice. in spite of what you're led to believe BT effectively still has a monopoly on new line provision.

    in the past other co.s (like phone co-op) were prepared to take care of line installation for you - although it was always BT who did the actual installation - as (up til the end of last year) BT's minimum contract was only 3 months. the other phone co. would effectively subsidise you by paying line-rental to BT on your behalf for the first 3 months of your time with them. however, now that BT demand a 12 month sign-up for a new line or reconnection, you'll find none of the other telcos will touch you with a bargepole, unless you have a line which is already active and connected.

  46. Andrew
    Unhappy

    But what about the bills?

    Am I alone in being concerned about the bit where they're now, in effect, charging £15 per annum for anyone unwilling (or unable) to participate in paperless billing?

    Is BT really just a branch of the tax office?

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    @Funny that... (BT Payment Processing)

    Sending some of the money to HMRC is not to avoid litigation, it's a tax fiddle/loophole. The fee for paying by direct debit is not subject to VAT if its collected separately. So set up a new company for the purpose of collecting it and instead of having to charge £4.50 inc vat and send 67p to HMRC, they can trouser the whole lot.

    Same reason why when you pay by card at most high street stores, 2.5% of the total goes to "Boots Payment Processing limited" or whatever. There's usually a disclaimer somewhere near the till telling you this.

    Mine's the one with the used fivers in the pocket...

  48. David Cornes
    Unhappy

    Sly tricks

    Pity the poor older folk, who've only ever used BT, would never think of changing, don't understand all these new fangled "options" and "packages", and will get well and truly shafted!

    I've been trying to persuade my mum to change suppliers for ages, but she prefer to stay with who she essentially grew up with providing a telephone. Looks like I'm just going to have to hide her pension book now until she agrees to leave the swindling gits.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    "OFCOM, are you so COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY STUPID"

    Certainly it's looked that way for the last few years...

    Is Ben Verwayeen (?) still the top man at BT? His email address used to be fairly widely known, perhaps a few folk would like to drop him a note before they move to an alternate provider.

    I had actually been wondering about "coming back" to BT based on the headlines of this new offer. I'm currently a TalkTalk customer with BT line rental but actually using alternate carriers for most of my calls - my last few TT bills have cost more for them to post than the money they'll get from me. The BT concealed small print for weekday evening calls rather puts the kybosh on that, even though I wouldn't actually pay BT prices for them when I used an independent carrier.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Opt out ...

    Take WLR and ADSL from another provider if your local exchange is unbundled (check http://www.samknows.com/broadband/ ). If it isn't all is not lost. You could seriously consider one of the up and coming 3G/HSDPA providers who are launching £15 data contracts. Also, keep an eye out for Picnic (a new offering from a BSkyB company) which will let you buy broadband, WLR or TV independently (you don't have to start with TV).

    Then there is the opportunity to check out WiMAX if you're in one of the pilot areas. It won't be that long before that is an option - and watch it drive down 3G/HSDPA tariffs, or increase their value.

    I have recently switched back from Virgin Media to a BT line and promptly switched on to a CPS provider and Sky BB Max which is worth the tenner a month. Its nice to get that BT line-only charge - good to see them get near sod all for providing sod all. I can't find myself twitching anxiously to get on to the new BT tariffs. As far as I am concerned they can pop them in that dark little place there the rest of their crap comes out of.

    Demon Bill - because thats the kind of stunt he'd pull

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