HC Deb 30 November 1911 vol 32 c590

asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that his Department, from their Renfield Street office, issue demand notes to telephone subscribers asking for immediate payment of sums alleged to be due on telephone calls; that when particulars are asked for by the subscribers none are given, but the demand for payment repeated accompanied with the threat to suspend facilities; and, if so, will he say whether it is to be part of the practice of his Department to refuse to give particulars of a claim, and to suspend facilities no matter how small the claim may be?

Captain NORTON

It is the practice to ask once a month for the payment of sums due for telephone calls and to suspend facilities for originating calls if payment is unreasonably withheld after repeated applications. Particulars of trunk calls are furnished on application in three months; but the details of local calls could not be recorded and given without disproportionate expense, which would seriously increase the cost of telephone service to subscribers. As no doubt the hon. Member is aware, such calls are usually registered at large exchanges by means of meters, the working of which has been proved by public investigation, both in this country and in the United States to be as accurate as any system of record. Great trouble is taken by special checks and otherwise to satisfy any reasonable doubts on the part of subscribers as to the correctness of the amounts charged.