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Landline Billing and Charges Explained

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 5 May 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Consumer Right Landline Billing Landline

There was a time when you had no choice of landline supplier and you paid per minute for calls you made. But in the wake on the deregulation of the 1990s, landline phone companies have flooded Britain, each with their own ways that might save you money; even BT is in on the act. But how do you understand the tariffs and the bills?

What Kind of Calls Do You Make

To get the service that's best for you, think about when you use your landline. Is it in the evening and on weekends, or during the day? What kind of calls do you make? Local? National? International? To other landlines or to mobiles? These are all factors that help you decide what kind of calls are best for you. How do you want your bill? A set amount each month, or would you rather pay per call, with a circle of regularly called numbers at better rates? Do you want to physically pay your bill or have it through direct debit?

It's confusing. If you use your phone regularly during the day to call other landlines, then a supplier with a flat fee might be best for you (be aware, however, that with some suppliers you need to disconnect after an hour or you'll be billed per minute thereafter). Everyone, even BT, now has plans like these, often with discounted calls to mobiles.

Bundling services is an increasingly common way for a supplier to get more of your business. Some will offer phone and cable television together, like NTL. Some offer broadband and phone, with free evening and weekend calls as part of the package. Some of the offers are attractive, but in virtually every case you're locked into a contract of at least 12 months (which also applies to many phone services).

Knowing what you want before comparing is the best way. One great advantage of the fat-rate services is that, if you keep to their conditions, you know what you'll pay each month, making budgeting a great deal easier.

International Calling

If you make a lot of international calls, it could prove cheaper to use a specialised service. With some suppliers you pay a connection fee per call and then a per minute fee (usually 1-3p per minute, depending on the country you're calling). These are billed monthly on direct debit from your bank account. There's also the Post Office International Phone Card, which can be bought in denominations of £5, £10, etc. and which can prove cheaper than using your phone service provider.

Line Rental

One constant in your bills will be line rental. In many instances this is from BT at a fixed cost per month. Some suppliers, though, such as TalkTalk, require you to use their landline rental for some plans.

Billing

Paying by direct debit is the preferred option for most companies. Depending on the plan, in some instances its part of the contract. With others you receive a discount for direct debit. If you're not sure, ask the supplier.

You're billed by BT for your line rental (if you rent it from them) every three months. However, in most cases telephone services are billed monthly, rather than quarterly. You'll receive a paper copy of your bill regardless of whether you pay by direct debit or cheque (or postal order or cash). Some services send their bills via e-mail.

If it's not included, you can request an itemised bill showing all your calls over the month, which will help you keep track of your calling patterns.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
I have entered into a contract with virgin for broadband,landline and TV. After 3 months my landlord sold her property and I had to move. I contacted virgin to arrange the services to be moved to my new accommodation. Unfortunately virgin could not provide the service in this area therefore I had to terminate the contract. Virgin is now asking me to pay the remaining balance as per contract, however my query Is they failed to provide me with the service so an I still liable to pay them.
Rosie - 5-May-16 @ 7:12 PM
Can I cancel phone contract if the prices are raised & will I be charged for this
Owlfella - 10-Oct-15 @ 10:44 AM
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