Chattabox accuses BT

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The Independent Online
CHATTABOX, a company offering telephone conversation services, has accused BT of causing the loss of about 3,000 jobs and tens of millions of pounds by making people opt in to use 'adult' call services, writes Mary Fagan.

Since BT imposed the opt-in on 25 July, requiring people to ask for a pin code to gain access to the services, Chattabox has reduced its workforce to four from 70. The company says many other service providers have been forced into similar moves.

Sue Horwood, a director of the chatline firm, said: 'BT commercial bosses can no longer bear the pressure put upon them by the moral lobby who aim to outlaw everything from the titillating to the salacious.' She attacked the Government for allowing the loss of jobs and money and called for opt-in to be repealed. She said the industry had been reduced to about five companies from more than 30 at its peak.

Ms Horwood estimated that BT was losing pounds 15m a year because of the limitation. She said there was a hidden agenda to kill the business and that, of 20,000 requests for application forms, only 5,500 pin codes had been issued.

BT said it did not recognise any of those figures. A spokesman said 6,000 pin codes had been issued, matching the level of demand.