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Calls (Duration)

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 25 April 1951

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19.

asked the Postmaster-General what is the least fraction of a minute which is counted and charged as a whole minute after the three minutes' signal during a telephone call; and whether he is satisfied that sufficient time is allowed to allow a subscriber to say goodbye and put down the receiver.

The signal is given 12 seconds before the end of each three-minute period. I am satisfied that this allows sufficient time to finish the call and replace the receiver.

Is the Postmaster-General aware that, in practice, a whole minute is frequently charged for, although the conversation only continues for a few seconds beyond the signal? Is there no machinery whereby the rule prescribed can be carried out in practice?

If the hon. and gallant Member will let me have evidence of that, I will certainly take up the matter.

Is not my right hon. Friend aware that when one is saying goodbye, time often passes much more quickly than one realises?

If the Postmaster-General wants an example, may I ask him to look into a recent case where I was charged 7s. 4d. for speaking to Portugal for two seconds beyond the signal.