Simon Read: If this is BT's idea of 'simple', beware if it gets complicated

 

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The Independent Online

Please keep your stories of outrageous price hikes coming in This week I was told about an estimated and potentially shocking 167 per cent price increase from BT.

Reader Kevin Simpson reports: "We make calls by landline to the Netherlands at a current cost of 26p a minute in the daytime and 15p a minute in the evening, plus a set-up charge." But BT told him it is introducing what it calls a "simplified" pricing structure next month.

There will be winners and losers with the new charges, of course, but Kevin feels a loser. "We will then pay a flat rate of 40p per minute plus set-up charge throughout [the 24 hours] – a 54 per cent increase on daytime calls and 167 per cent increase on evening calls. Most of our calls are in the evening so, in effect, it's a 167 per cent increase," he reckons.

"What's the overall increase?" Kevin asks. "I can't believe anyone's prices are falling by the amounts ours are increasing!"

I put his question to BT. Its response? "We've simplified our international call prices to make it easier for customers to know how much they'll be charged. Some prices have come down while others have increased." It says its Friends & Family International option, at £1.20 a month, would cut the price of a call to the Netherlands to 2.9p a minute, rather than the standard rate, which looks a possible solution for Kevin.

But, once again, it looks like "simple" means "confusing" when it comes to finding the best deal.

s.read@independent.co.uk

Twitter: @simonnread

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