New rules to cut out mobile phone 'slamming'Industry code targets mis-selling

01 August 2007

 

A new code of practice which aims to stamp out dodgy sales and marketing practices in the mobile phone market has been welcomed by the industry watchdog.

But Ofcom warned that it would still intervene if this latest industry initiative failed.

The watchdog currently receives around 400 complaints per month about mis-selling and says it's concerned about a ‘significant increase in complaints’ since the beginning of the year.

These involve mobile phone retailers either acting, or claiming to act, on behalf of Orange, O2, T-Mobile, Vodafone and 3.

Slamming

Another problem is 'slamming', where customers can unknowingly be switched from one company to another without their agreement.

The new code of practice states that staff must only call prospective customers at a ‘reasonable’ time of day, and must clearly state which firm they represent and ensure clear contracts are provided.

Any cash-back deals must not be subject to the customer paying a fee nor to ‘unreasonably short’ claim periods.

Ofcom says it expects to see a significant reduction in the number of mis-selling complaints in the coming weeks as a result of this initiative.

Cash-back deals

Ofcom Chief Executive Ed Richards said: ‘Competition in the mobile market has led to lower prices and a wide variety of valuable and exciting new services.

‘However, consumers must trust those that sell to them. We expect this new voluntary code of practice to stamp out mis-selling in mobile; if it does not, we will not hesitate to step in to protect consumers.’