Talk to Ofcom

The IMPDA invites you to a meeting with the regulator OFCOM, 20 dealer places available…

 

An interesting call came in during the week which made me think, it was from a male customer who was disabled; he asked if there was a range of phones for the disabled, as he had difficulty with his hands, this was not the first time I had been asked.  Good question, of course it’s unfortunate that manufacturers do not seem to produce mobiles specifically for this sector probably because it is not cost effective which a great shame.  

It would be helpful if manufacturers could look at this sector, because with the modern mobile getting smaller, and I have even seen a wrist watch version from Japan, then for the disabled it becomes extremely difficult to operate such small phones let alone turn them on.  With the population increasing in age and the illnesses and problems with sight and such things as arthritis, they have just as much need to own and use a mobile as the rest of us who don’t yet have problems.  If any manufacturer has an interest or perhaps does have a range to which I am not aware of then perhaps they would contact us at contact@impda.co.uk and I will be pleased to pass this on to those customers.

I was not surprised this week to be sent a press release following on from the meeting the networks and Ofcom had with Roger Godsiff MP for Birmingham Sparkbrook and Small Heath.  

Roger Godsiff has pledged to continue the fight on behalf of the victims of Dial a Mobile cashback deals following a meeting with the ‘Big Five’ airtime providers.

Dial a Mobile, the Bordesley Green retailer, went into administration recently owing £12 million in cashbacks. Many of its customers affected, estimated to be about 90,000, live in Birmingham. Another retailer also went into administration recently, with estimated debts of between £4million and £10million.

Speaking after the meeting with the airtime providers- Orange, 3, 02, Vodafone and T-Mobile – Roger said "The airtime providers, whatever they might say, are complicit in the collapse of Dial a Mobile and there is mounting proof that in order to get a steady stream of new connections they were prepared to tolerate retailers operating unsustainable cashback schemes which would lead to insolvency if more than 40% of customers applied for their cashbacks. Ofcom, the industry regulator, must outlaw these cashback schemes because they are nothing more than ‘scams’ and when the retailer goes bust and cannot pay the cash back the airtime providers are still sitting on highly lucrative contacts and are pursuing customers through the Courts to pay-up the contracts!"

"I believe that, providing customers return the phones they were given, the airtime
providers should tear up the contracts because many people were misled into signing them and were promised cashback money which they have never received."

It certainly is not stopping there, the debate and move on cashbacks is as can be seen going to continue and will no doubt gather momentum. It’s a severe warning message to those companies who are currently offering very high cashbacks well above the commission paid by networks, and in all cases who will have a great deal of complaints laid against them on many forums.  Many of these companies will have already been reported to Trading Standards by consumers.

The IMPDA would say to those companies, please fall into line with all other uk dealers and offer cashbacks which are no more than the commission you receive. If by your actions, Ofcom suddenly does carry out what has been said by the MP’s then you will by your actions damage the industry further and a great many decent dealers who have their customer’s interests to look after as well as their own business which may suffer greatly as a direct result of your own greed.  Offering cashbacks of £700, £875 or even £1, 050 which was seen on one site by the MP’s is stupidity of the highest degree.

We would urge those companies to take immediate steps to reduce these stupid cashback amounts now and to improve the way you deal with customers cashback claims which will reduce complaints.  If you do not heed the warning signs, then it will not be long before either you go out of business because you cannot pay cashbacks, or you will be forced to close by the MP’s or Ofcoms regulations.  The choice is yours of course but if you don’t change then you will be responsible for further damaging the industry and decent dealers.

The IMPDA has now also been contacted and invited to a meeting with the regulator OFCOM, and we have also been asked to bring with us a number of dealers for the meeting with the regulator.  This is a fantastic opportunity along with the meeting with Roger Godsiff, the first time for dealers across the UK to have their views, suggestions and recommendations listened to directly by the regulator.  The discussions will be wide ranging including dealers input on the cashback issue, what you want to see in the industry for the future, and much more.  Any dealers who would like to attend please contact me at contact@impda.co.uk with their name, company name and tel number, we will contact you in due course with the details.  

There is a limited number of 20 places available so action on this is required as soon as possible.