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Ofcom UK Clamps Down on Landline and Broadband ISP Mis-selling

Posted: 17th Mar, 2010 By: MarkJ
scamRegulator Ofcom UK has announced strict new mandatory rules designed to stop the mis-selling and slamming of landline services, which will come into effect from tomorrow. Telecoms companies and ISPs that fail to comply are likely to face fines of up to 10% of their turnover.

One of the most abused forms of mis-selling is known as slamming and we detail it HERE. Slamming is where customers are switched from one ISP to another without their knowledge or consent. In some cases you might only be aware of this once you’ve received bills from a different company.

Ofcom Chief Executive, Ed Richards, said:

"It is not acceptable for consumers to suffer from companies engaging in dishonest sales and marketing activity. Ofcom will not hesitate to take enforcement action against firms who dont comply with the new rules."
The new rules will:

•prohibit telecoms providers from engaging in misleading and inappropriate sales and marketing activity and slamming;

•require telecoms companies to keep better records of their sales and marketing activities;

•confirm the type and level of information that needs to be made available to new customers both at the point of sale and after the sale has been concluded (but before the service has actually been transferred). This includes providing important information about the key terms and conditions of the service, including contractual liabilities and cancellation rights;

•introduce new rules to make clear when providers are allowed to cancel orders placed by other providers. Cancelling orders for purposes other than those expressly specified by the regulations will be prohibited.
The rules, known more technically as General Condition 24 (GC24), will be accompanied by a standard monitoring and enforcement programme to help keep tabs on any violations. Slamming and mis-selling are the most complained about issues to Ofcom in the fixed line market, averaging about 750 complaints per month over the last year.
Examples of mis-selling issues reported to Ofcom by consumers include:

•receiving calls from telecoms providers pretending to be another company;

•telecoms providers incorrectly advising consumers of package costs; and

•telecoms providers not properly informing consumers of any Minimum Contract Periods and Early Termination Charges that might be applicable.
Ofcom has previously investigated 14 companies for breaches of the current regulations and even fined two companies the maximum 10% of turnover for failing to comply.
General Condition 24:
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