The UK Court of Appeal (CoA) allowed BT broadband ISP to attempt to appeal the Competition Appeal Tribunal(CAT), which last month dismissed the operator’s attempt to end a £ 600million class action lawsuit against it – linked to the alleged overcharging of 2.3 million landline-only customers.
The class action – see the previous article for more details – relates to the retrospective claim that BT overcharged around 2.3 million landline customers between 2015 and 2018 alone (the rules prevent this from being further backdated). The case is also aimed at obtaining compensation for customers who took both broadband service and BT landline, but not together (i.e. customers paid more for individual services) .
The CAT initially chose to unanimously reject BT’s opposition to the overbilling case, allowing it to stand trial. The decision also enabled all affected customers – each of whom could receive up to £ 500 in compensation if BT lost at trial – to be automatically represented.
At a hearing on October 19, 2021, BT sought leave to appeal the CAT judgment, but their request was denied. As a result, the operator then applied to the Court of Appeal for leave to appeal, and this time they were successful. The case cannot go to trial until this step is resolved.
Justin Le Patourel said:
“I note that the Court granted BT leave to attempt an appeal on the grounds that the questions of practice and procedure are important and may have implications for other cases. However, I remain convinced that our argument – that BT overcharged landline customers, many of whom were elderly and vulnerable, over the course of several years – is a very strong one.
I hope we can resolve this appeal and move to a full trial as quickly as possible. “
We have asked BT for a comment and will update again once they respond.