Grannies vs BT

 

By Peter Farmer

OK, so the headline talks about Grannies… disappointingly we are actually talking about a class action of all landline only customers v the former state monopolist and not just grannies. These landline-only customers absolutely include many of our Grandmas, but our other elderly relatives too and also a chunk of other vulnerable users, regardless of their age.

In its judgment today, the panel of a judge and two laypersons, gave permission for a class action (or collective proceedings order) to proceed, subject to agreement on the drafting of procedural matters. All BT’s customers of ‘stand-alone fixed voice services’, including the deceased, shall have their day in court to argue that BT’s pricing for the same was abusive.

This is despite Ofcom convincing BT to voluntarily lower that pricing in 2017, which was recently maintained. Simwood responded to the recent consultation.

We’re not getting too excited yet; basically the judgment says that case is sufficiently promising to warrant a full trial. Actually, the judge used the term ‘not fanciful’ in their summary, but in any event, there is a long and expensive road ahead in a complex area of competition law.

However, if BT again run the argument of ‘they’d have paid less if they’d had broadband’, which they did in the hearing leading to today’s judgment, I can seriously imagine Philip Jansen receiving my Grandma’s handbag to the head.