Tuesday, 16 February 2010
BT is pushing back the time from which customers can make free evening calls, from 6pm to 7pm, in a move that could infuriate millions of customers.
News of the change is buried in letters and emails sent out to customers this week, entitled "Important information about your BT service". The letters say that the end point for the free evening call period will also move back, from 6am to 7am.
Although the change, to be implemented on 1 April 2010, only involves a move of one hour, it is unlikely to go down well with the 10 million BT customers who have signed up for packages that include free evening calls. Only those on the Anytime package will be unaffected.
Even though the move is likely to result in more people paying for calls, a spokesman for BT said the company still felt it was offering customers a good deal.
"We've looked into it and 6pm to 7pm is a busy time for calling, but it's the time when people make short, organisational calls," he said. "It's between 8pm and 9pm when they sit down to have a chat."
The first three quarters of the email sent to customers outlines the details of their account that are not changing, such as being able to make 0845 and 0870 calls at no extra cost, depending on the type of plan they have.
But, tucked away at the bottom, it says: "We are also making some changes to your BT service. We'd also like to make you aware of some changes to our prices, terms and conditions, effective from 1st April 2010. These include changing what we define as the evening call period for all types of calls: at the moment from 6pm-6am, but changing to 7pm-7am."
At the same time BT is raising the call set-up fee for non-inclusive calls (those you have to pay for outside your free plan calls) from 9.3p to 9.9p a call, while the cost of calls made during the daytime will increase from 5.4p a minute to 5.9p a minute. These charge changes will not apply to BT Basic, Light User Scheme and In-Contact Plus customers.