NICHOLAS MURRAY of Presteigne, Powys reports that while staying at a hotel in Malvern he was charged pounds 2.20 for a brief off-peak phone call to his wife.

'For about the same cost I could have made a five-minute call to New York,' writes Mr Murray. 'I was told that I had been charged 22p per unit even though, by pressing 9 myself to get a line, I was not making work for a switchboard operator. How can hotels justify this grotesque overcharging?'

Do readers have any useful suggestions on how to avoid the overcharging?