BT axes its helpline costs for landline callersIts 0845 and 0870 lines will switch to 0800

21 February 2008

A close-up of a telephone cord a man is using to make a call.

BT is scrapping charges for landline callers contacting its consumer service and helpdesk numbers.

The telecoms company says it currently receives more than 7 million chargeable calls every year, mainly to technical helpdesks beginning with 0845 or 0870 numbers.

Almost all of these charges will be scrapped by the start of April, when it will be free to call these numbers from BT and other landlines.

Mobile phones

However, mobile phone operators may still impose varying fees according to their tariffs.

BT currently operates dozens of consumer service and helpdesk numbers, 92% of which are already free for landline callers.

That will increase to 99% by 1 April, with its 0845 or 0870 numbers changing to begin with an 0800 or 0808 prefix.

The other 1% of numbers will be changed over the coming months.

Helpdesk numbers

BT currently charges 2p a minute for calls to 0845 numbers during the day and 0.5p a minute in the evening.

Its 0870 numbers are charged at 6p a minute during the day and 1.5p a minute in the evening. A set-up fee of 6p also applies to these calls.

Which? spokesman Bob Tolliday said: 'It's good to see BT scrapping these charges to its helplines and it would be good to see other companies following suit and not charging their customers for calling to make a complaint or ask for help.'