Competition watchdog reviews island landline bills

The Channel Island competition watchdog is reviewing landline bills for operators in Jersey and Guernsey.

The Channel Islands Competition and Regulatory Authority (CICRA) said it followed changes to billing practices by JT in Jersey and Sure in Guernsey.

Michael Byrne, CICRA deputy chief executive, said a number of customers had raised concerns about new charges.

He said the time to pay bills had shortened and late payment penalties and reconnection fees had increased.

Mr Byrne said: "Of course operators need to ensure bills are paid but the number and scale of changes have caused concern among customers who have questioned whether the changes are fair and reasonable."

'Particularly disappointed'

Eddie Saints, chief executive of Sure, said: "We are surprised that the consultation does not mention that Sure has already provided CICRA with information that shows the recently introduced charges only recover our costs and no more.

"I am particularly disappointed by the suggestion the charges have been introduced by Sure to take advantage of its strong position in the fixed line market. That is simply not the case."

Mr Saints added Sure was also very supportive of CICRA's attempts to increase competition in the fixed line market.

Graeme Millar, CEO of JT, said his firm welcomed the review.

He said: "We are reassured to see that the vast majority of the examples given in the consultation document do not relate to JT, as we work hard to ensure our billing keeps in step with what customers tell us they want."

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