FROM the recent discussion about the exorbitant cost of phone calls from hotel rooms (Independent Traveller, 24 April) emerged the recommendation to get a BT Chargecard.

Mervyn Smith of Wimbledon queries this, however: 'You make the surprising statement that the 'cost (of using a Chargecard) is a little bit more than normal because it is based on payphone rates'. But surely payphone rates are rather more than a little bit more than normal?'

Mr Smith says that his daughter telephones him from Durham. 'It is not difficult from BT's own literature to calculate that when she rings from a payphone the cost is 2.2 times that of a call from home. So she has always rung me (cost: one unit) and I ring her back (as reader John Grear suggests).'

Most payphones in Britain and Europe still accept incoming calls, says Mr Smith. 'Some do not. Others may, but the bell might have been disconnected. Try arranging to pick up the payphone again, say 40 seconds after hanging up.'