How to protect yourself from ‘slamming’
Ofcom recently (12 November 2021) fined two telecoms firms – Guaranteed Telecom and Met Technologies – a combined total of £35,000 after they took over the home phone services of more than a hundred people without their permission – a practice known as ‘slamming’.
Our investigation found that Guaranteed Telecom and Met Technologies slammed at least 110 customers throughout 2019 (43 and 67 respectively), many of whom were elderly or vulnerable.
Guaranteed Telecom and Met Technologies also prevented at least 52 customers (27 and 25 respectively) from switching to another provider after they had slammed them.
So, we have fined Guaranteed Telecom £10,000 and Met Technologies £25,000. The companies should also release affected customers from their contracts without charge, and refund those who had already switched and paid early termination fees.
The money raised from this fine, which must be paid to Ofcom within two months, will be passed on to HM Treasury.
What is slamming?
Slamming is an aggressive form of mis-selling, which involves customers being switched from one telecoms company to another without their consent or knowledge.
Tackling slamming is a priority for Ofcom. We have introduced tough rules to clamp down on slamming, and telecoms companies that break our rules face fines of up to 10% of their annual turnover.
How can I avoid being slammed?
- Be wary of giving out personal information over the phone.
- Only agree to something over the phone if you’re sure who you are talking to and what you’re signing up for. If you’re not sure, ask the caller to the information to you by post before you sign up to anything.
- Ask to see identification from doorstep sellers, to check that they are from the company they say they are.
- Don’t give out your financial details unless you’re certain you want to switch phone companies.
- Don’t sign anything unless you’ve read it and are sure of what you’re signing up for.
What do I do if I’ve been slammed?
The switching process for telephone and broadband services includes measures to protect you from slamming.
You will receive letters from your old phone company and new company to let you know you are moving provider. It will include the date that the transfer will take place.
If you don’t want to move to a new phone company, tell the provider who has taken over your service that you did not agree to the transfer. If you do this within 10 days, they will be able to put a stop to the transfer and you can carry on as before.
If the provider refuses to cancel the transfer, ask your current provider to cancel the transfer. This should be possible up until 24 hours before the transfer is due to complete, but it is best to do this at least 48 hours beforehand.
If the service has already transferred, ask your original provider to transfer you back to them.
Help us to tackle slamming
Although we can’t investigate individual cases, your complaints can lead to us launching investigations and ultimately, taking action. You can help us make sure that others don’t fall victim to this form of mis-selling.
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