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BT hits back at class action claim worth £600m related to ‘overcharging’

Paul Lipscombe
January 18, 2021

Ofcom found in 2017 BT had overcharged millions of its landline customers 

BT has hit back against a class action claim worth almost £600 million that has been filed against the telecoms giant in relation to overcharging millions of customers.

The claim has been brought on by London law firm Mischon de Reya, on behalf of Justin Le Patourel, the claimant representative and founder of CALL (Collective Action on Land Lines).

It comes after Ofcom found in 2017 that BT had overcharged millions of its landline customers since 2009.

This resulted in BT agreeing to reduce its monthly landline prices by £7 and slash its landlines prices by £84 a year.

However CALL is aiming to get payments of ‘up to £500 each for 2.3 million of BT’s loyal customers’.

The firm claims that while BT did reduce its monthly costs for customers as agreed with Ofcom, that it has not sought to repay customers that were overcharged.

According to CALL, customers can seek damages from 2015.

“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,” said Le Patourel.

The claim is set to be heard by the Competition Appeal Tribunal.

Vigorous defence

However BT has come out in a staunch defence against the class action case.

In a statement, BT says it plans to “vigorously” defend itself against the law firm.

BT also refers back to Ofcom considering the subject three years ago, with there being no excessive pricing or breach of competition law.

A BT spokesperson said: “We strongly disagree with the claim being brought against us.

“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.”

BT has also hit back at the accusations that it has taken advantage of its older and more vulnerable customers, as suggested by Mischon de Raya.

“We take our responsibilities to older and more vulnerable customers very seriously and will defend ourselves against any claim that suggests otherwise.”

Ofcom has declined to comment on the case.

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