I had to find a qualified interpreter today so I could contact my telephone and internet service provider to ask them why my phone bill has gone up from £20 per month on average to £64 last month and £73 so far this month.
I make approximately three calls per month using my text phone with the prefix 18001. The costs have trebled without warning since July. I contacted PlusNet and they said they have advertised the changes on their website, which I was not aware of and I have not been able to find the important information. Their website is very difficult to navigate and it makes it hard to find what you want. PlusNet informed me that Ofcom changed the classification of relayed calls and that is why they are now at a higher rate.
What this effectively means is that the ISP is now in a position to start charging deaf consumers over £1 a minute for Typetalk/Text Direct relay services. I have not been able to find any information about the changes being implemented by Ofcom since July 2011. This is clearly a case of discrimination. As you will know, making a call via a text relay service takes three times as long as a call made directly.
With no hope of getting a full refund for the costs of these extortionate charges, the technical support department at PlusNet advised me to send a letter of complaint to PlusNet via their online members’ page and a second letter of complaint to Ofcom. With the help of my interpreter, I have now fired off a letter of complaint to PlusNet and I will be forwarding a copy of this to several other sources, lobbying Ofcom, Watchdog and See Hear to name just a few.
I am hoping for reimbursements of the extortionate charges paid to date. If other people find themselves in the same situation then you must complain and together we can lobby against the powers that be. Do they really think it’s okay to charge deaf consumers over £1 per minute for making a phone call?!