BT, line rental shouldn't be in the small print

BT Tower in London

BT Tower in London (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not long ago I had to move house. Unfortunately, as someone who rents in London, this happens more often than I would like and is always a headache. But until money for deposits start falling from the sky or get donated by generous readers – What? It was worth a shot! – I can see this ordeal happening several times more.

Anyway, along with the redirecting of post, changing address with your bank and learning which is the best pint at the new local, high on my agenda is sorting out a broadband connection. As with most of you reading this, being online is incredibly important to my job and whilst as a journalist I am able to work from pretty much anywhere, I need that strong connection to do so.

I was free from my previous broadband contract so it was time to browse the ISPs and find the best offer out there on my street. Luckily for me being in London, I could choose from a huge number, and all the adverts were shouting out about broadband from £10 per month, £5 per month or even free for the first six months.

This last one was BT. How could I resist that? Especially knowing I would probably have to move in a year again and cancel the contract anyway. But, it didn’t take long to see this “freebie” was no such thing.

Whilst the broadband connection would come at no charge, customers would have to pay line rental of £14.60 per month. Since when was £14.60 per month free? What if you didn’t want a phone line and just wanted the broadband? Could you get it free then? Of course not.

I had a bit of a row over the phone with BT about this at the time but got no further. Today though, I was pleased to see the Advertising Standards Agency take the telecoms giant to task about it.

“Because the line rental was in fact payable from the start of the contract and this was not made clear in the ads we concluded the claims were misleading,” read the ASA’s ruling.    

The adverts have been pulled and must not appear again.

I now have a deal with Virgin Media which is for broadband only. Yes, it is not a dissimilar price from the ones that include line rental and yes, Virgin put up the price a few weeks ago, but on principle I don’t want to pay the extra few pounds for a landline phone I don’t need and won’t use.

This trend of sneaking line rental into the small print and leading customers astray about your cheap deals needs to stop. Well done to the ASA for pulling one of the worst offenders up on it. 

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