Ofcom to crack down on telcos' handling of nuisance callers

Also wants to extend consumer protection to cover more broadband services

UK telecoms regulator Ofcom is to introduce a series of measures to clamp down on providers' handling of nuisance calls, billing accuracy, general complaints handling and support for vulnerable customers.

The changes will come into force from October 1, 2018. Any breach of a general condition can result in a financial penalty of their turnover by 10 per cent.

Under the plans, Ofcom will ban providers from charging for caller display facilities, which can help people screen nuisance calls. Telephone numbers displayed to people receiving calls must be valid, dialable and uniquely identify the caller.

The regulator vowed to crack down on complaints handling, a perennial annoyance for consumers, to ensure complaints are dealt with promptly and keep consumers informed about the progress of their complaint, with faster access to dispute resolution services.

It will require broadband and mobile providers to have fair and transparent debt collection and disconnection practices in place, something that currently only applies to landline providers. Current rules on billing accuracy, which previously only applied to voice call services, will be extended to include broadband.

The measures will also require all communications providers to offer disabled users access to priority fault repair, third-party bill management and accessible bills.

"We have clarified and simplified many of our rules, making them easier for providers to understand. We have also made the regulations simpler by removing rules that are no longer in use," Ofcom said. ®

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