16-Dec-2010 17:25

Telecoms company repeatedly broke consumer rules

Well done Ofcom for taking a strong stand on 'client 'churning' & mis-selling known as 'slamming'!
A disgraceful activity which gives the industry a bad name...


Update note - 15 December 2010:

Continental Telecom has failed to respond to the section 138 notification issued on 25 October 2010.

Consequently, Ofcom has decided to impose on Continental Telecom, a financial penalty of £50,000 in accordance with section 139 of the Act.

£50,000 is the maximum level of penalty that can be imposed under section 139.

The story:

A London-based phone and broadband provider was warned to urgently clean up its act after it repeatedly broke consumer protection rules.

An Ofcom investigation into Continental Telecom has concluded there are reasonable grounds to believe it misled consumers to get them to switch from other providers.

Consumers were switched to Continental Telecom without their express and informed consent – a form of mis-selling known as slamming – and kept in the dark about their consumer rights.

Telecoms rule breaches...

The Ofcom probe also 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.

Ofcom therefore issued a Notification to Continental Telecom requiring it to take appropriate action to comply with telecoms rules, including remedying any consequences arising from its breaches.

Each year Ofcom receives and monitors thousands of consumer complaints about problems in the telecoms sector.

It was an increase in complaints about Continental Telecom – together with initial review of the complaints – which prompted Ofcom to launch this investigation in February.

Ofcom continually works to identify and tackle problems so that all consumers can get the most from their telecoms services.

They regularly launch investigations into issues such as mis-selling, silent calls, and undesirable sales practices, and can take enforcement action where appropriate.

Well done them!

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