Ofcom eyes phone slamming breaches

New code, new 'vigorous approach to enforcement'

Ofcom has promised to get tough with phone companies found guilty of "slamming" and other dodgy sales techniques in their bid to sign up new punters.

New rules introduced last week mean that all telcos flogging fixed line telco services must now adhere to a mandatory code of practice to prevent punters being duped into switching telephone suppliers. In the worst "slamming" cases, punters are switched from one telco to another without their knowledge or consent.

Companies that breach the new rules could be fined up to 10 per cent of their turnover.

With the new rules in force, the giant communications regulator has now begun actively monitoring the industry and had pledged to act on complaints. It recognises that mis-selling "is and has been a problem" and that to protect consumers from unscrupulous operators increased regulation was "justified".

An Ofcom spokesman told El Reg that the regulator would take a "vigorous approach to enforcement".

While Ofcom acknowledges that there is a problem, the true extent is not exactly clear.

BT, which is losing around 100,000 phone customers a month, says it receives around 15,000 complaints a month from punters who claim they've been the victims of mis-selling, although an Ofcom investigation found that that half of those complaints were legitimate sales.

Ofcom itself receives around 500-600 complaints a month about mis-selling and slamming. ®

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