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Mis-selling of fixed-line telephone services is a long-standing problem affecting many consumers. Consumers may be switched to another provider without their consent or may enter into a new contract without fully understanding the implications. This can mean that their existing provider charges them an early termination charge.

At the same time, the Consumer Panel has called on Ofcom to enable consumers who buy bundles of services – such as fixed-line telephone plus broadband – to switch provider more quickly and easily. In a letter to Ofcom’s Director of Consumer Affairs, Claudio Pollack, Panel Chair Anna Bradley said that:

“In parallel with strengthening and enforcing the rules on fixed line mis-selling, we believe that Ofcom should be working towards a single process to enable consumers who buy bundles of services to switch provider quickly and easily. We would like to see Ofcom develop a strategy to move to a single switching process as soon as possible.”

This should involve a detailed examination of the possible options, as well as engagement with industry to develop the process. But central to Ofcom’s strategy should be a clear understanding of the requirements of consumers.

We also want Ofcom to ensure that its enforcement activity to prevent mis-selling is resourced properly and that, “Where possible, Ofcom should impose on providers that break the rules financial penalties that have a wider deterrent effect. This would help to raise the level of compliance across the industry.”