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Home phone customers fork out for charges

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Nearly 4 million home phone customers currently pay out £75m in charges for failing to make bill payments by direct debit, according to comparison site uSwitch.

Research from the website showed consumers could save £237m a year by changing the way they pay their phone bills. An estimated 13 million customers who receive paper billing at an extra charge, collectively lose £162m a year. BT customers, for example, could save £141m a year by paying online and a further £52m by using direct debit.

Steve Weller, spokesperson for uSwitch, said: “Some would argue that the additional charges imposed on customers not wishing to pay by direct debit are an unfair penalty. However, some companies do not even give customers the luxury of having a choice – it’s direct debit or direct debit.

“With charges as high as £60 a year, customers should seriously consider whether they wish to continue settling their bills by cash, cheque or card. If they do, they could still cut costs by moving to a company that offers cheaper line rental – Toucan’s £8.99 a month line rental (plus £2 non-direct debit fee) is £27 a year cheaper than BT and £60 a year cheaper than Virgin Media.”

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