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BT gets huffy about mis-selling

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BT - which is losing between 50,000 and 100,000 residential customers a month to rival phone providers - has called for tougher rules to regulate the selling of landline telephone services.

It claims it is receiving around 10,000 complaints a month from customers about "apparent" mis-selling. Known as "slamming", some punters have told BT they have been switched to a new telephone company without knowing it.

And the UK's dominant fixed line telco is so concerned it wants regulator Ofcom to introduce new safeguards to protect consumers.

Said BT's Gavin Patterson: "We feel the time is right for all telephone companies to sign up to a mandatory code of practice to protect customers from being mis-sold services, misled by sales agents or given incorrect information."

"BT wants to work with Ofcom and other industry players to ensure that customers get to where they want to be with the minimum of hassle. We want to see practices which allow well informed customers to make clearly authorised decisions to switch and where poor practice is swiftly penalised. We take our own responsibilities seriously and are happy to quickly put right any errors that we make," he said.

Although BT has promised to keep tabs on the problem - and has already collected 490 signed witness statements describing allegations of mis-selling - it declined to say which companies have generated the most complaints from customers. Ofcom also declined to "name and shame", except to say that it receives around 100-150 complaints a month abut mis-selling.

Ofcom is currently investigating the issue of mis-selling and is due to publish its findings later this year.

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