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Shareholders blast BT over misleading offer

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BT shareholders are up in arms accusing the monster telco of backing out of an offer of toll-free access to the Internet. Thousands of shareholders were invited to apply for free membership of BTInternet Plan Unlimited -- an "exclusive and valuable offer" which would have saved them £129.25 a year for Net access. But the prize perk for loyal BT shareholders was not all it seemed since those who were tempted to take up the offer and make use of toll-free calls at weekends have found out to their cost. BT has now said that the offer of free calls to the Web only applies to fee-paying subscribers of the BTInternet Plan Unlimited -- and not those who chose to take up the freebie. The small print reads: "Please note BT Internet Free Weekend access is not available on the BT Shareholder option. "If you wish to benefit from the BT Internet Free Weekend access -- which allows you to connect to BT Internet at weekends via a Freefone number -- you will need to select either the Plan Unlimited monthly or annual payment plans, which are chargeable options." One BT shareholder, who asked to remain anonymous, was so incensed he contacted The Register to warn others about the "offer". "Despite being offered 'Free BT Internet Plan Unlimited' for a year, I'm not actually entitled to all of the benefits of the service," he said. "What I'm really being offered is the 'BT Shareholder' option, not Plan Unlimited at all." He added that he was going to speak with trading standards to see if the offer breaches any advertising regulations. A spokesman for BT said the offer was made before the telco introduced limited toll-free access to the Net for subscribers of its unlimited price plan. He apologised if there was any misunderstanding and added that BT would take steps to clarify the situation. ®

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