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Call Charges

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 25 April 1951

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asked the Postmaster-General why, when a personal call is made from a pay-station, the operator cannot first ascertain whether there will be an answer from the number called before asking the subscriber to press button A, so as to obviate the present practice whereby, if the number is not obtainable, the personal fee has to be refunded to the subscriber by postal order.

On the great majority of calls a reply is obtained from the called number, and the present procedure avoids holding up the trunk line while the caller inserts the call charge in the coin-box.

Is it not possible for the 1s. 6d. pre-payment for a personal call to be put in the box but button A not to be pressed until the operator says that the number answers? Does the Minister appreciate that his answer does not meet my point?

I have discussed this with people very skilled in the operation of the telephone system. They have advised me they have looked at this idea but that it would cause a great deal of delay on the trunk system, on which we have the greatest pressure at present.