TalkTalk’s sales tactics: “dishonest, misleading, deceptive”
Ofcom has launched an extraordinary broadside against TalkTalk, accusing the company of behaving in an “dishonest, misleading or deceptive” manner when signing up new customers.
The regulator has accused TalkTalk of “slamming” – signing up new customers without their knowledge or consent. The censure comes only months after TalkTalk was forced to pay £2.5 million in refunds to customers after an Ofcom investigation revealed the company had over-billed customers for cancelled services.
The latest allegations concern the mis-selling of telephone packages. The company stands accused of “providing misleading information that is likely to affect a customer’s purchasing decision” and “engaging in slamming”.
TalkTalk is also accused of breaching rules that give customers a 14-day cooling-off period after signing a new contract.
An Ofcom spokesperson told PC Pro the regulator was receiving more than 200 complaints a month about TalkTalk’s sales practices last year, falling to around 160 per month this year.
While a TalkTalk spokesperson admitted that “we need to do much, much better”, he also claimed “we’re talking about pretty slim margins here”, pointing out that the company deals with tens of thousands of customer calls every week and claiming that complaints volumes wouldn’t be much higher than those of other large telcos.
Ofcom has given TalkTalk a month to comply with the regulations and has the power to impose a fine if the company doesn’t mend its ways.
Among the measures that Ofcom is insisting TalkTalk corrects the behaviour of its customer agents, reminding the company that “agents must not behave in an aggressive manner, including applying unacceptable pressure on a customer to continue with a contract”.