2 May 2015

Deal to cut pensioners' bills

1:20 pm on 2 May 2015

Consumer New Zealand says it has done a deal with the phone company Slingshot to cut costs for pensioners forced to buy broadband.

Marshall Court Apartments, Miramar, Wellington.

Tenants at Marshall Court Apartments say they have been forced to pay for broadband they don't want. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Tenants at Marshall Court Apartments in Wellington suburb Miramar say they only want landlines but, because their flats have fibre-optic cabling installed, they have to get broadband at the same time.

The requirement to buy broadband would have bumped up the monthly phone bills of the elderly residents from about $54 to $70 a month.

The deal announced last night will reduce that by about $20 dollars a month.

Consumer New Zealand chief executive Sue Chetwin said she was happy to help elderly residents who in some cases were not able to help themselves.

"We rang them yesterday morning and within the hour they said, yip, we can do this deal and it was offered to the residents."

She said she would keep an eye out for similar cases to this in the future.

Slingshot general manager Taryn Hamilton said it was a tricky situation, because fibre broadband was brilliant technology but clearly not something that everyone wanted.

80 year old Yvette is a tenant at Marshall Court Apartments in Miramar.

Yvette, an 80-year-old tenant, told Radio New Zealand she "just wanted a plain phone". Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

 78-year-old Brian says he did not know anyone in the complex who owned a computer.

Brian, 78, said he did not know anyone in the complex who owned a computer. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson