Feeds

Ofcom to hold operators responsible for dodgy dealers

Voluntary code of practice not working

High performance access to file storage

Ofcom wants to make mobile network operators responsible for their resellers, reporting that a voluntary code of practice for the industry has failed to reduce complaints.

The voluntary code was introduced in July last year but enforcement was up to the network operators, who have been inconsistent in their approach. Ofcom won't name names, but reports that some have retrained staff and now make compliance a condition for resellers, while others have taken a more relaxed attitude and left resellers to manage their own conformance.

More importantly, the volume of complaints about mis-sold mobile phone contracts has remained consistent since the voluntary system was introduced.

Ofcom is particularly concerned about cashback schemes, which give the punter a cash payment in exchange for signing up, or using the service for a set period. Resellers get a sum from the operator for every customer they recruit, but in some cases the cashback on offer was greater than that, indicating something dodgy was afoot.

Only about 95 per cent of cashback is ever claimed, and resellers base their business models on the premise, but some also make it very hard for punters to get their dough. Techniques include demanding the original receipt, and in one case asking a non-computer-owning customer to submit all the details via email to get their entitlement.

Ofcom reckons that 79 per cent of cashback customers get their money but the rest lose out, and if a voluntary agreement isn't going to work then Ofcom will make the network operators responsible for their resellers.

Ofcom has no power over the resellers themselves, as the regulator can only threaten providers of Electronic Communications Services or Electronic Communications Networks; but if operators can be held accountable, then they're going to have to keep a close eye on the companies they do business with.

The operators won't want the responsibility, and are preparing responses to Ofcom's proposal which will no doubt emphasise the expense of making them police the industry. But Ofcom has no one else they can hold to account, so as long as the public is being sold dodgy contracts they'll be looking for someone to take responsibility. ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
Skype pimps pro-level broadcast service
Playing Cat and Mouse with the media
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.