BT taking Competition Appeal Tribunal ruling to Court of Appeal

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BT will be seeking permission from the Court of Appeal to appeal the preliminary ruling on a procedural matter of certification for a class action claim, which accuses BT of anti-competitive behaviour towards its landline customers.

BT regrets being drawn into speculative litigation on a topic 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 and the preliminary ruling by the Competition Appeal Tribunal did not find anything to the contrary. This 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 customers very seriously, launching BT Home Essentials earlier this year, a market leading social tariff connecting those on low income with affordable fibre connectivity and calls. It builds on BT’s initial social tariff, launched in 2008, to provide futureproof fibre connectivity at a time when online resources have never been more important.

BT offers free text, data and minutes to those who need it most and staff are fully trained to work with vulnerable customers, offering priority fault repair. BT’s pandemic response (NHS data, Digital Skills, and Lockdown Learning Support), 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 speculative claim being brought against us and we will be seeking permission from the Court of Appeal to appeal the Competition Appeal Tribunal’s preliminary ruling on a procedural matter of certification.

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

“We take pride in our work on the Customer Fairness agenda. For many years we’ve offered a discounted social tariff in what is a competitive market with competing options available, and, earlier this year, extended that to help a potential four million households on low incomes save on bills and stay connected to vital online services. We also worked hard to support our customers and the UK more broadly during the pandemic and continue to do so.

“We assure our customers that we will not let this claim disrupt the relationship BT has with them.”