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UPDATE Fear of New Migration Rule Drives ISP to Offer Anti-Slamming Service

Monday, June 1st, 2015 (7:34 am) - Score 1,563

Ofcom’s easier broadband and phone switching rules are due to go live later this month (20th June). However one provider, AAISP (Andrews & Arnold), is so concerned about how it might result in more cases of slamming (i.e. consumers being switched without their consent) that they’re now offering a free “anti-slamming” service.

The new migration service, which we recently detailed in our extensive new switching guide, aims to make it easier to swap between communication providers by putting all the power into the hands of your new (gaining) ISP instead of the old (existing) one.

But one of the criticisms against Ofcom’s approach is that it might not provide enough protection against mis-selling related abuses like slamming, which can result in naughty people triggering a swap of your service without you ever having given confirmed consent.

Admittedly slamming is not a truly big problem in the industry and existing protections are usually enough to stop most abuses, although there’s still a risk. Under the new system both ISPs are required to notify their customers (e.g. via email or post) that a migration is happening and consumers then have a roughly 10 working day period where they can stop the switch.

But what if the post is delayed or the spam filter catches that email? Perhaps you’re away from home at the time too.. what then? The problem is also a concern for businesses. As such the new “anti-slamming” solution that AAISP has thus developed is one that, should customers choose to take it, will effectively “lock” the line against being switched.

AAISP Statement on the Anti-Spamming Service

The process is simple and allows each line to be locked against migrations for broadband or the underlying copper pair “phone line” part of the service. It is just a “standing order” from the customer to AAISP to reject all migrations. From the 20th, any migration request that then comes in is automatically rejected if anti-slamming is enabled. An email is sent to advise the customer of what happened, including a simple link to turn off the anti-slamming if they do wish to migrate after all.

The anti-slamming service has been provided by popular demand after many customers expressed concerns that their lines could be “slammed” (maliciously taken over by other telcos) or that mistakes could lead to unwanted migrations, and it would be very easy to miss the notice of transfer that is sent before the migration goes ahead. OFCOM do not seem to have created any “fast correct” of mistakes, so an unwanted migration could mean waiting another 10 working days to fix the situation.

Slamming is just one of the many concerns over the new migration process. There may still be ways LLU providers can take over lines, as can happen now without a MAC, but this new service should avoid mistakes and give customers peace of mind.”

The boss of AAISP, Adrian Kennard, has since informed ISPreview.co.uk that over 1% of their customer lines have already made use of the service and that’s within its first hour of availability.. on a Sunday afternoon.

However ISPs will need to be careful with automated rejections as if any complaints are raised by consumers then that could lead to problems and a potential penalty by Ofcom. In this case AAISP appears to have a reasonable approach and it will be interesting to see if others follow suit.

UPDATE 6:14pm

We asked for Ofcom’s opinion on whether or not AAISP’s new service complied with their migration rules and received a somewhat vague response.

An Ofcom Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

New rules for switching landline and broadband services are designed to enable consumers to switch quickly and easily, and any risks of slamming are minimised. Losing providers are permitted only to block a transfer in specific circumstances, including where the losing provider has established that slamming has occurred.

We are writing to all providers, including AAISP, to remind them of the rules and the need to comply with them. We will not hesitate to take appropriate action against any provider found to be breaking the rules.”

Leave a Comment
5 Responses
  1. Avatar DTMark says:

    The AAISP service sounds eminently sensible, and is similar to the way in which some domain name registrar transfers are managed.

    In a scenario where an ISP is contracted to supply a service, and especially if for business (e.g. critical), and another ISP “takes over” the line without the customer’s consent – and we know that this has happened and is going to happen – mis-keying and over-eager sales staff spring to mind as reasons – and the customer loses the service with their existing ISP..

    If the customer has not given that ISP notice to end the contract, then the ISP is now in breach of contract. If termination of their service is not what the customer wanted (regardless of whether the customer got a notification or responded to reject it), then the ISP must put matters right immediately, at their own time and cost, and with any SLA still applying, restoring the service on the original contract and with the original terms. This is what contracts are for.

    So it would be in all ISPs interests to offer such a setting/option.

  2. Avatar James says:

    I am with AAISP and I am migrating out. I noticed “request anti slamming” in my control panel.

    TBH it’s a shame they only do usage based packages and not unlimited (unless you want to spend £175 a month + £625 install charge for a 80/20 FTTC service with no caps)

    Because if they did unlimited (even for a higher price) I would stay with them forever they really are the best ISP to date for me. I just keep hitting the caps and at £10 for 50GB it’s getting expensive.

    1. Avatar X66yh says:

      Hint…..They don’t want people like you who will hog all the bandwidth.

      This concept of unlimited is getting silly. The ISP’s have to buy the bandwidth and this do actually cost them money so either:
      1. They make it impossible/ultra expensive for their customers to use unlimited amounts
      2. They traffic shape and accept slow downs at peak hours.

      The quality orientated ISP’s go for (1) and the mass market sell ’em cheap ISP’s go for (2)

    2. Worth noting if you by the cap up front, £10 = 100GB not 50GB.
      I won’t deny they are not cheap, but hands down worth every penny.

    3. Avatar Paul says:

      Yeah, I’d switch to AAISP but their prices is just a bit pricey for me. It’s not so much that Home::1 has unfair bandwidth charges, it’s more than Home::1 only offers a single IPv4 address, where as I need a block of 8 as on my FTTC (67M/20M fastpath) I run a game server, a VOIP server, remote access to the NAS, so yeah (nothing business related about that at all). If it wasn’t for the IPv4 constraint then I would switch to Home::1. For now I’m with Zen.

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