HC Deb 11 May 1931 vol 252 cc815-7

asked the Postmaster-General whether, when a new tenant takes over a house in which a telephone is already installed, the Post Office charges any instalment fee; and, if so, how much?


The Post Office makes no installation charge whether or not the house is already telephoned.

58. Lieut. - Colonel Sir GODFREY DALRYMPLE-WHITE

asked the Postmaster-General whether he has recently issued instructions to operators as regards trunk or toll calls that even if the subscriber, on being informed by the operator that the period of his call is terminated, at once ends his conversation and replaces his receiver, he is to be charged for the full period of the further time extension as specified; and, if so, when this regulation came into force?


The answer is in the negative. On the contrary, the instructions provide for the announcements of elapsed duration to be made a few seconds before the expiry of the period concerned, so as to allow the caller, if he so desires, to terminate his conversation and replace his receiver without incurring the charge for a further period.


Will the Postmaster-General inquire into this point, because some telephone operators think that they are, and they say that they are, obliged to charge the extra amount directly they announce that three minutes has expired.

Brigadier-General CLIFTON BROWN

Will the Postmaster-General make inquiries at the exchange at Eaton Square which gave me that information?


If the hon. and gallant Gentleman will give me any instances, I will have them inquired into.


asked the Postmaster-General how long it has been the practice of the London telephone service to require of subscribers a deposit that is increased in ratio to the amount of their telephone accounts; and whether he will take steps to put an end to this practice?


The present deposit system was introduced in 1921 when payments of quarterly rental in advance and quarterly local and trunk fees in arrear were substituted for the less liberal system under which a whole year's rental and payment for fees were required in advance. The deposit is based on two-thirds of the quarterly charges for calls and is subject to increase when substantially greater use is made of the service. I am now considering whether any change of practice is desirable.


asked the Postmaster-General what sum was held by the Post Office at any recent convenient date representing deposits by subscribers to the telephone service; and how much the interest on this sum contributes annually to the profits of the telephone service?


The amount held on 1st January last was £2,804,000. The annual interest value of this sum would be about £130,000 at the present time. It should, however, be pointed out that telephone services already rendered to subscribers balance, on average, the deposits in hand.


Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that there are many complaints from small traders about the excess amount charged them as deposit against their trunk and toll calls and will he inquire into this matter in order to see if some relief cannot be given to these people?


I think it must have escaped the hon. Member that I have already stated that the matter is under my consideration.