Mis-selling of fixed line telephone services can cause lots of problems for consumers. The strong-arm tactics from some utilities have been a common feature for shows like BBC's Watchdog. Ofcom already has a raft of regulations to protect people and their telephone service, over the course of the last two years six companies have been investigated in relation to their fixed line telephone services. The industry regulator currently has three ongoing investigations into the activities of Post Office Ltd, Scottish and Southern Energy and Universal Utilities PLC (trading as Unicom).
As part of a review of the existing regulation that would otherwise expire in May 2007, Ofcom is starting a consultation phase into its mis-selling regulations. Details of the current rules and proposals that Ofcom are considering can be found here. The consultation period closes on 18th April 2007 and provides a chance for consumers and the industry to have its input on the new rules.
A key proposal is that fully unbundled lines (where a supplier provides both telephone and broadband services from its own hardware in the local exchange) will come under mis-selling regulations. Broadband connections are not included under these rules, as the migration authorisation code (MAC) process provides a degree of protection against slamming already. Slamming is the practice where a telecommunications company takes over your service without your informed knowledge or consent.
While slamming is the most obvious aspect of mis-selling the rules do cover things like the provision of false and/or misleading information and applying unacceptable pressure to change providers
If you feel there are areas of mis-selling not covered by the current regulations or proposals then take this opportunity to provide Ofcom with your feedback.