Ofcom to Investigate Slamming

Ofcom has published a consultation looking at how customers switch between service providers and/or products. In its announcement Ofcom say they are seeking views from stakeholders on a variety of detailed issues related to switching, migrations and mis-selling and that many of these issues are raised by growing competition in telecoms services.

The telecoms industry has had bad press in recent times due to users only finding out they have ‘switched’ carriers when the get a bill in from their ‘new carrier. This practice, know as ‘slamming’, has been endemic amongst the LCR companies operating at the bottom end of the market.

Ofcom is consulting on:

– Whether customers are able to switch easily between service providers and/or products
– How to prevent unfair tactics by providers when they win or lose customers;
– Whether the interests of customers and industry would be better served by moving towards a single switching process across industry.

The consultation sets out that there are some 160 possible switching processes. Ofcom is consulting on how to decide which processes should take priority and on principles proposed to provide a framework for future discussions in this area.

The closing date for consultation responses is 28 April 2006.