Ofcom targeting internet service ëslammingí

Ofcom is targeting a number of internet and landline phone providers that switch customers to their service without their consent, the industry regulator has announced.

The technique, known as slamming, was carried out by a number of landline phone and internet service providers last year.

Ofcom claims that more than half a million UK households have been slammed in the last year, something which it wants to cut out altogether.

As well this, Ofcom has said that there are a number of other problems with the current system of switching service provider.

Analysis by the regulator has found that as many as one in five customers switching their broadband provider lost their service for about a week.

And around 130,000 households have had problems with the wrong telephone line being taken over during the switching process.

The regulator is arguing that all service switches undertaken by customers should be verified by a third party, in order to prevent abuses.

ìToday’s proposals are designed to make the process easier and safe from slamming,î said Ofcom’s Chief Executive Ed Richards.

ìMany people think that the current systems are too difficult and unreliable which is why we have made it one of our priorities to tackle this problem,î he added.

Ofcom has outlined a number of suggestions for improving the current system. These include simplifying the process to ensure customers are not confused and donít need to contact different providers; and addressing the technical problems that cause the wrong lines to be switched.

Ofcom also wants to make a customerís new provider responsible for the switching process. Under the current system it is the old provider that handles the switch, meaning it has no motivation to make the process as quick and easy as possible.
Under the proposed system, the new provider would handle the process, and in theory would make the process as simple as possible for the new customer.

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