Lots of companies compete to offer you telephone and broadband services. Companies use different sales and marketing tools to attract customers. While most of these are done responsibly, some companies use dishonest activities such as mis-selling.
One form of mis-selling is known as ‘slamming’, where customers are switched (or attempted to be switched) from one company to another without their knowledge or consent.
You might only become aware of this after receiving a bill from a different company.
What is Slamming?
Slamming is completely unacceptable and an extreme form of mis-selling. Tackling slamming is a priority for Ofcom and they have introduced tough rules to clamp down on slamming. Telecoms companies that break our rules face fines of up to 10% of their annual turnover.
In March 2010, Ofcom introduced stronger rules (for home and small business customers) to protect you from mis-selling and slamming. In June 2015, Ofcom extended these rules to the mis-selling and slamming of broadband services.
- prevent wrongful sales and marketing activity, including slamming;
- set out the information that new customers must receive both before and after buying a service (but before the service has actually begun). This includes information about the key terms and conditions of the service;
- require providers to keep a record of the consent a customer gives to transfer their service from their current provider to the new provider;
- make clear when providers would be allowed to cancel orders placed by other providers. Cancelling orders for purposes other than those specified in these rules is prohibited.
Ofcom keep an eye on how firms comply with these rules, and will take action against any company that does not comply with them.
How can we protect you from slamming?
Start Communications is committed to protect its customers from slamming and operates within the regulations applied by Ofcom’s General Conditions of Entitlement.
As a Communications Provider (CP) we are permitted to use what is called the ‘Cancel Other’ process in an effort to prevent slamming. This process allows us to cancel orders during the transfer period placed by the gaining provider.
Before cancelling any orders we will take reasonable steps to contact you to establish that the order is slamming.
What to do if you have been slammed?
The switching process for telephone and broadband services includes measures to protect you from being slammed.
You will receive notifications from us and the new company to let you know you are moving provider. It will include the date that the transfer will take place. We will also attempt to contact you by phone.
If you do not want to move to a new phone company, you should tell the provider who is trying/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 us 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, please ask us to transfer you back.
If you are aware of the company involved and wish to take the matter further, follow their complaints procedure. If this does not resolve the matter, and you are a home or small business customer, raise it with the relevant Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme. If you are a business customer with more than 10 employees, seek independent legal advice.