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By: MarkJ - 26 October, 2010 (10:25 AM)
continental telecom ukofcom ukA London-based phone and broadband provider, Continental Telecom (CT), has been officially warned that it could be fined up to £50,000 or face court action if, by 25th November 2010, they have failed to comply with an earlier demand to stop breaking consumer protection rules.

In June 2010 Ofcom accused CT of using dubious tactics (here) after consumers were switched to the service without their express and informed consent (a form of mis-selling known as slamming) and kept in the dark about their consumer rights.
The Ofcom probe found that Continental Telecom had:

• Used unacceptable sales tactics to get consumers to sign up to its deals;

• Failed to tell customers of their right to cancel during the switchover process.

• Abused the trust of vulnerable customers, including the elderly, people with special needs and those whose first language is not English.

• Cut customers off for alleged non-payment of bills without giving them due warning.
At the time Ofcom gave the ISP just one month to comply with its legally-binding Notification and, as part of the monitoring phase of its investigation, also requested information from CT about its turnover. This is needed to help the regulator, if necessary, design an appropriate financial penalty (max 10% of the company's turnover).

Information about a company's turnover is usually filed with Companies House, yet CT failed to file its accounts on time and also failed to provide Ofcom with this information when requested; hence today's news.

Sadly Ofcom makes no mention of whether or not it has had any luck in resolving the other problem areas, although the case remains open and suggests that the difficulties with CT's compliance have not yet been resolved. Late accounts and extremely poor service are also usually a sign of serious internal problems.
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