Belgacom ‘denying’ cheaper calls to poor
31 January 2005
BRUSSELS – The government has suggested Belgian phone company Belgacom may be denying tens of thousands of poorer customers cheaper calls.
On Monday, the Flemish newspapers De Standaard, Het Nieuwsblad and Het Volk reported that up to 30,000 people might be eligible for special phone tariffs.
The papers said Public Enterprise Minister Johan Vande Lanotte had informed parliament that Belgacom may have been overcharging poor customers since October 2003.
He has asked the Belgian Institute for Post and Telecommunications to carry out a study of 800 customers denied a low tariff to assess whether Belgacom has acted incorrectly.
It was back in 2003 that Belgacom wrote to 365,000 customers receiving a low tariff asking to check whether they were entitled to the benefit.
The company decided 90,000 of them were not and therefore wrote to them informing them they had lost the benefit unless they could prove they were entitled to it.
Tens of thousands did not reply.
Belgacom spokesman Jan Margot denied the company had acted wrongly and said it would retroactively reimburse any customer who could prove they had been overcharged.
[Copyright Expatica 2005]
Subject: Belgian news