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Ofcom Accuse Met Technologies and Guaranteed Telecom of SLAMMING

Friday, June 4th, 2021 (11:09 am) - Score 2,400
ofcom uk telecoms regulator

After a long investigation, Ofcom claims to have found “reasonable grounds for believing” that two little-known UK broadband ISPs – Met Technologies (Met Plus Telecom and Millenium Talk) and Guaranteed Telecom (Zoom Telecom) – may have switched a number of consumers to their service without permission (SLAMMING).

The practice of SLAMMING is a mis-selling tactic that can occur when naughty people or ISPs trigger a switch (migration) of your service to another provider, albeit without you ever having given confirmed consent. Ofcom’s existing migration rules are designed to protect against such abuse, but they’re far from perfect.

Back in 2019 Ofcom published a brief statement on the aforementioned case, which said: “Specifically, this investigation is examining whether these companies have engaged in slamming by placing transfer orders, including repeat transfer orders, for switching customers’ communication services without their express knowledge and/or consent.” Sadly, no further information was released.

At the time a quick Google around revealed a number of related complaints against the providers (some examples here and here) and one of them – Guaranteed Telecom – even managed to get on the bad side of the BBC’s Technology Correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones, after they targeted one of his elderly relatives (here).

Ofcom has now concluded their provisional investigation and found “reasonable grounds for believing” that both operators may have broken their consumer protection rules between 1st January 2019 to 31st December 2019.

Ofcom Statement

Specifically, Ofcom has reasonable grounds for believing that Guaranteed Telecom and Met Technologies contravened:

➤ GC C7.3(a), by placing transfer orders, including repeat transfer orders, for customers’ communications services without their express knowledge and/or consent;

➤ GC C7.7, by failing to create and keep individually retrievable direct Records of Consent for the provision of communications services, for the required minimum period of twelve months; and

➤ GC C7.14(a), by using Cancel Other (a mechanism that losing providers can use in specific situations to cancel a request to transfer a customer) in a way that is not prescribed in the accompanying Annex 1 to GC C7,

Both operators have now been invited to respond to Ofcom’s findings before they issue a final decision. At the very least the regulator may force the two providers to make changes to their systems and services but, in reality, SLAMMING is one of those nasty things that tends to attract a hefty fine – especially if the providers are found to have been doing it deliberately.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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9 Responses
  1. André says:

    OFCOM is not renowned for “biting” hard. I doubt the fine will amount to a deterrent amount for these companies, but I look forward to seeing what comes of this.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      I’d disagree when it comes to SLAMMING / mis-selling. If they catch an ISP doing that then they do tend to bite quite hard, even with smaller fry.

      https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2017/11/ofcom-slaps-uk-isp-true-telecom-300k-fine-mis-selling.html

    2. Mike says:

      The fine is only one factor, negative publicity is another, and I suspect if they continue/repeat the fine will be considerably higher.

    3. André says:

      Thank you for that, Mark. You keep hearing about risible fines for big corporations, and that has given OFCOM a reputation of a bit of a toothless tiger. Glad to know that doesn’t happen across the board. 🙂

    4. Buggerlugz says:

      We all know what will happen. The ISP’s board will see a hefty fine incoming, they’ll register a new company name, dissolve the existing company, change the name above the door and open “as normal” the following day.

      Happens all the time. Works every time for them too.

  2. Paul says:

    Crikey, that Met Technologies website looks incredibly sketchy. It always makes me sad when I read stories like that one regarding the BBC chaps elderly relative, some people really have no morals.

    1. Pezza says:

      Big corporations have no morals either, they just have to visibly abide by laws more until they can successfully lobby them to be changed in there favour. Several big name companies have done slamming before..

  3. Shaukat says:

    Well, had look at the companies House website for both companies, according to the public documents available ..

    The director of met technologies and guaranteed telecom limited, is potentially the same person, with a nationality and residence listed as India and a UK address on London’s north circular.

    https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/08962266/officers

    https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/08127967/officers

    Interesting

    1. Buggerlugs says:

      There’s a surprise…….

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