Why it's worth checking telephone bills carefully

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George Beaman writes: "In my last bill from BT I was surprised to see that I was being charged for two calls to Chile. I do not know anybody in Chile and have never made an international call in my life. So I wrote to dispute this and also took the opportunity to complain about being charged more because I do not pay by Direct Debit.

"They wrote back ignoring my main complaint but attempting to justify the Direct Debit differential saying "This is not a penalty charge but a separate fee for methods of payment which cost us more to process." This is a difficult argument for me to accept as my preferred method of payment is by chip and pin from a debit card which is just as automated so cannot cost more to process.

"As I did not pay the disputed bill they cut me off. The dial-tone remained but if I tried to establish a connection I got a few notes of happy music then the message "The number you have dialled has not been recognized." So I have signed up with another provider. They also charge more if you do not accept Direct Debit but it would be difficult to find one that does not.

"Coming back to the supposed calls to Chile, it occurs to me that at about the time they were recorded I changed the operating system on my computer and for a while left it unprotected by a firewall. So I am wondering if someone could have routed the calls into and out of my computer without my knowledge. Perhaps our computer experts could tell us if this is a reasonable explanation or if there may be a better one."


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