BT statement on Class Action claim from Mishcon de Reya

This statement has since been updated as procedural matters relating to the case have progressed.

The latest statement can be found at: https://newsroom.bt.com/bt-statement-on-competition-appeal-tribunal-procedural-hearing-on-certification/

  • BT intends to vigorously defend itself against the claim of excessive pricing

  • Ofcom considered the subject three years ago – there was no finding of excessive pricing or breach of competition law more generally

  • BT staff are working hard through the pandemic to keep vulnerable and elderly customers connected

BT intends to defend itself vigorously against a class action claim being brought by law firm Mishcon de Reya, which accuses BT of anti-competitive behaviour towards its landline-only customers.

BT regrets being drawn into litigation on a topic which Ofcom considered more than three years ago. At that time, Ofcom’s final statement made no finding of excessive pricing or breach of competition law more generally. The claim seeks to hold against BT the fact that it implemented a voluntary commitment to reduce prices for customers that have a BT landline only and not to increase those prices beyond inflation (CPI).

BT takes its responsibilities to older and more vulnerable customers very seriously and offers free text, data and minutes to those who need it most, as well as discounted landline and broadband to customers on low incomes. Staff are fully trained to work with vulnerable customers, with priority fault repair offered when things go wrong. Bespoke products such as BT Basic, BT’s pandemic response (NHS data, Digital Skills, Lockdown Learning Support etc.), and a major focus on leading in Customer Fairness, clearly demonstrate that BT wants to live up to its purpose and Connect for Good.

A BT Spokesperson said: “We strongly disagree with the claim being brought against us.

“We take our responsibilities to older and more vulnerable customers very seriously and will defend ourselves against any claim that suggests otherwise.

“For many years we’ve offered discounted landline and broadband packages in what is a competitive market with competing options available, and we take pride in our work with elderly and vulnerable groups, as well as our work on the Customer Fairness agenda.

“We assure our customers, including the elderly and vulnerable, that we will not let this claim disrupt the relationship BT has with them particularly at this critical time, when our people have been working so hard to keep them connected with their loved ones. 

We will continue to offer a variety of packages to support our customers through the pandemic.”

About BT

BT Group is the UK’s leading telecommunications and network provider and a leading provider of global communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities in the UK include the provision of fixed voice, mobile, broadband and TV (including Sport) and a range of products and services over converged fixed and mobile networks to consumer, business and public sector customers. For its global customers, BT provides managed services, security and network and IT infrastructure services to support their operations all over the world. BT consists of four customer-facing units: Consumer, Enterprise, Global and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Openreach, which provides access network services to over 650 communications provider customers who sell phone, broadband and Ethernet services to homes and businesses across the UK.

For the year ended 31 March 2020, BT Group’s reported revenue was £22,905m with reported profit before taxation of £2,353m.

British Telecommunications plc is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

For more information, visit www.bt.com/about