HC Deb 08 December 1920 vol 135 cc2156-8W

asked the Postmaster-General whether, in view of the mistakes which arise from time to time in the various departments of the telephone service, he will in future take legal proceedings for the recovery of amounts due in lieu of disconnecting subscribers from the service, which puts them to considerable inconvenience and expense and for which they have no remedy even when a mistake has been made?


The telephone service (like the posts and telegraphs) is essentially a prepaid service and, although a certain amount of latitude is allowed in order to meet the public convenience, I cannot agree to continue telephone service where the accounts have not been paid within the reasonable limits laid down. Facilities are not withdrawn until formal notice has been given of the course proposed, and every precaution is taken to prevent mistakes in this connection.


asked the Postmaster-General (1) whether, where telephone lines are surrendered by subscribers, the lines are allotted to persons in the neighbourhood who are first on the list of those requiring telephones or whether the person surrendering the line can have the line transferred to another would-be subscriber, although such person is not first on the list;

(2) whether persons possessing Post Office telephones are advertising the sale of their lines; whether he approves of this profiteering at the expense of the State; and, if not, what steps he is taking to prevent the sale of public telephone lines?


The benefit of a contract for telephone service cannot be assigned to another person without the consent of the Postmaster-General. Should it be discovered that an attempt is being made to transfer an installation to a new subscriber under the guise of a removal, the transaction is at once stopped. When a telephone line is surrendered by a subscriber, the wires thus thrown spare are used to serve the applicant in the same locality who stands highest on the waiting list. The allocation of the wires rests with the Post Office and not with the ceasing subscriber.