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BT landline customer? Check if it'll hike your bill by up to £9/mth

Hundreds of thousands of BT landline customers will have an extra calls package costing up to £9/month automatically added to their phone bill this month, can reveal. While it's worth it for some, you must opt out if you don't want it – here's what you need to know.

BT has written to landline customers who regularly make chargeable calls to tell them it believes they'll save with its new 'My Anytime Calls' bundle, which it will automatically add to their bill on Sunday 14 April.

The package usually costs £9/mth but BT says it's giving "tailored discounts" to customers so that it costs less than they've been paying on average for chargeable calls – some have been offered it for as little as £3.50/mth. 

The bundle will kick in on Sunday 14 April unless you choose to opt out. BT insists the calls package should save customers money overall – but some have expressed anger at having it automatically added to their bill. 

See Haggle with BT for how to shave £100s/yr off costly bills.

How to check if your bill's going up

BT won't tell us how many landline customers are affected, but we understand it to be hundreds of thousands. You're likely to be affected if you're a landline customer and BOTH the following are true:

  • You consistently spend money on chargeable calls, ie, those not covered by your current plan. For example, if you have a weekend and evening calls package and only make calls during this time, you shouldn't have the package added – if you also make calls during daytime in the week, it may be.

  • You've been with BT since at least December 2017. BT says it's offering customers the packages for a price that's less than their variable call charges have been over the 12 months to November 2018. So you'll need to have been a BT customer since at least December 2017 for it to have worked out if the package could save you money.

If the extra calls package is due to be added to your account, you'll have been sent a letter or email from BT outlining what's happening – this should have arrived in early March as all customers were given a month's notice. So if you think you might be affected, check your email inbox or any old post.

If you're still unsure, or think you may have received a letter or email but no longer have it, you can call BT customer services on 0800 030 4525 to check. (Unfortunately you can't check online – BT says the calls package won't appear on your online account until 14 April.)

'They should offer it, not ram it down my throat'

We've seen a number of complaints from customers who are furious at having the calls package automatically added. For example, MoneySaver Brent told us: "I am in the process of formally complaining via [complaints tool] Resolver to get this removed.

"Why should it be up to me to cancel this increase? They should offer it, not ram it down my throat. Suppose the email had been lost or overlooked?"

Some comments from Twitter users can be seen below:

However, a spokesperson for telecoms regulator Ofcom told us that BT is allowed to add the calls package in the way it has.

How does the extra calls package work?

The new My Anytime Calls package is on a rolling one-month contract, so can be cancelled with a month's notice, without affecting the rest of your BT contract. It gives you:

  • Unlimited calls at any time to numbers starting 01, 02, 03, 055, 056, 0845 and 0870
  • 1,000 minutes a month to BT mobiles – again, at any time

The package usually costs £9/mth, but some customers are being offered it for as little as £3.50/mth. The discount is adjusted to ensure the bundle is cheaper than a customer's current average call costs – though some of the discounts we've seen are just a few pence cheaper.  

We've asked BT how long it will guarantee these discounts for, and will update when we hear back. 

Is it a good deal?

When deciding whether to automatically add the package to your bill – and how much to charge for it – BT says it's worked out your average chargeable call costs based on the 12 months to November 2018. So if you're still making the same number of chargeable calls you made between November 2017 and November 2018, chances are this could save you money.

But if you're making fewer chargeable calls than you were then – or think you're likely to make fewer chargeable calls in future – the add-on may work out more expensive. Bear in mind too that the new package is a standard monthly charge, so you'll pay it each month regardless of how many calls you make.

BT's standard call costs are 15p/minute to landlines and 18p/minute to mobiles. So if, for instance, you were to spend 34 minutes making chargeable calls to landlines each month and were offered the package for £5/mth, keeping it could save you 10p a month. 

Remember though that if you have an additional package such as 'Unlimited Evening and Weekend Calls' or 'Unlimited Weekend Calls', your calls will already be free at this time.

I don't want the package – how do I opt out?

To opt out, follow the link in your email from BT if you have one, or call BT customer services on 0800 030 4525.

What does BT say?

A BT spokesperson said: "We're writing to customers who can save money with this plan to let them know we'll be adding this option to their account.

"We're adding this only where customers will pay less with this new bundle than they've paid on average without it, and it is very easy for customers to opt out or remove the bundle at any time with one click in our email or a quick phone call."

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