10-Feb-2012 18:37

'Slammers' - Watch Out... Ofcom's Watching You!

As we have argued for a long time.... unethical landline telephone and internet providers who randomly switch customers to their services without their consent (and often their knowledge) - a process known as 'slamming' - are being targeted by Ofcom...

The telecoms regulator Ofcom says that an estimated 520,000 UK households were 'slammed' last year & it argues that all switches/transfers should be verified by a third party to prevent abuses.

Other suggestions put forward by the regulator include:

Making the new provider responsible for the switching process

Simplifying the process to make sure that consumers are not confused and do not have to contact different providers

Addressing technical problems which can cause the wrong lines to be switched

Tackling loss of service caused by a change of provider; Ofcom says one in five consumers lose their broadband connection for about a week when they switch

The Internet Services Providers' Association, which represents the industry, said it welcomed Ofcom's intervention. However, it added that it had reservations about some of the specific proposals.

"We do have some concerns about potential costs of a third-party verification process, and what could turn out to be a potentially cumbersome customer experience."

Ofcom says it will consult the industry, consumers and other interested groups on the proposals until 23 April and report back in the autumn.

Watch this space...

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