Wednesday, 26 August 2009

New Mobile Phone Selling Rules

Carmarthenshire Trading Standards Service has welcomed stricter new rules governing the sale of mobile phone contracts.

Government watchdog Ofcom is introducing a new General Condition on sales and marketing practices that will apply to all mobile service providers from September 16.

The move aims to tackle the problem of mis-selling of contracts. Mis-selling covers a range of sales and marketing activities including the omission of relevant or the provision of false and/or misleading information, for example about tariffs, savings or promising offers which do not materialise.

It also covers applying unacceptable pressure to change providers, such as using intimidating behaviour or refusing to leave until the customer signs a new contract; and slamming, an extreme form of mis-selling, where customers find themselves with a service from a new company without their knowledge and consent.

Forms of slamming can include, passing off, where representatives claim to represent a different company, customers being told they are merely signing up for information rather than entering into a new contract, or the forging of customers’ signatures on contracts without the customer being aware.

The new General Condition on sales and marketing practices includes requiring mobile service providers not to engage in dishonest, misleading or deceptive conduct, to make sure the customer is authorised to, and intends to, enter into a contract; to make sure customers get the information they need when they buy the product; and to carry out checks in respect of their retailers.

Trading Standards Manager Roger Edmunds said: “We welcome these new rules which cover mobile service providers and will assist us when investigating mis-selling by them, particularly where cash back offers are promised but not delivered, though it should be noted this does not regulate retailers.

Executive board member for housing and public protection Cllr Hugh Evans said: “Ofcom’s new rules will help them and Trading Standards combat companies that are prone to mis-selling. We welcome the assistance it will provide.”


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