Pensioner Woman sues BT for extra charges

28 March 2008, A woman is suing BT after she was charged extra for paying her bill in cash.

Solicitor Ros Fernihough, 62, has been a BT customer since 1964 and pays her bill over the counter in her local bank. In May last year, BT introduced the £4.50 charge to cover administration costs of processing bills not paid by direct debit.

The move has been highly criticised as a ‘stealth charge’ that targets the company’s poorest customers. Around 2.9 million customers pay by means other than direct debit and Mrs Fernihough’s action could affect them.

The grandmother-of-seven claims the telephone company is unfairly penalising its cash-paying customers and is making her case at Walsall County Court.

Mrs Fernihough said: “£4.50 may not be much to someone who is working with a reasonable job but if you are on a state pension it is crucial.”

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Comments 0

  1. Have been a BT customer for 40 plus years. As a matter of principle I will not be dictated to as to what bill payment method I should use. I pay my bill quarterly by the automated telephone service with my debit card and monies go straight from my bank into theirs. Nevertheless BT charges me the £4.50 charge for not paying by direct debit. I am currently challenging them on this issue, as indeed I have been from the onset. As a business person myself I challenge BT's legal loop hole in this matter on the basis that they describe this as an administrative cost and yet there is no admin involved whatsover in my transaction. For those where there may be an administrative involvement they are not charging the current VAT for their services, whereby it begs the question as to whether they are not only fiddling us their customers, but equally HM Custom and Excise as we all know VAT is chargeable on any service. An administrative cost attracts VAT. The Judge preciding over the original ruling in BT's favour, would be best described as totally incompetent, failing to grasp the nettle i.e. realising charging customers for not paying their bills as dictated to is an out and out "con". Perhaps this particular Judge has a vested interest in Bt i.e. a shareholder!! Assuming the latter, BT are not acting in the best interests of their shareholders because they must be losing good genuine customers through their dogmatic attitude – or perhaps they are that arrogant to ignore customer views?
    I hope the Judge sees this together with HM Customs and Excise.

  2. Yes here on the Isle of Man our Telephone Company Manx Telecom introduced exactly the same charge in July 2008 as that of British Telecom. Four years down the line it still goes on. Why is this?

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