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BT slammed over tactic to cling on to customers by Forum of Private Business

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) is warning small businesses that time is running out to avoid being locked into a new contract with BT.

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) is warning small businesses that time is running out to avoid being locked into a new contract with BT.

On Thursday, 21 February, customers with BT's business PSTN lines will be upgraded to its Business Line Divert service - which will commit them to a further 12-month contract unless they opt out now.

According to the FPB, BT sent customers a letter about the change, but many firms affected are arguing that this does not amount to consent. Other telecommunications companies have joined forces to register an official complaint with the telecoms watchdog, Ofcom. The complaint is being backed by the Federation of Communication Services.

"Business owners should be very careful and scrutinise their terms and conditions when they are signing up. It is imperative that they take action now to avoid being tied into this contract," said the FPB's Senior Member Services Representative, Philip Moody.

"Our advice would be to carefully consider the BT Business Plan capped product because, for a large percentage of customers, the minimum call and set-up charges on short duration calls outweigh any saving made by capping longer duration calls," he said. "Even if you are spending £400,000 per year with BT you will be paying 4.1p per minute for local and national calls, and up to 20.43p to call mobiles, under BT's call capping."

BT has set up a special line (0800 587 1984) to field queries and allow customers to opt out.

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