Ofcom slams slammers: Telcos fined for switching punters' phone lines without their knowledge or consent

Guaranteed Telecom, Met Technologies nurse £35k penalty, and to them that's meaningful


Ofcom has slapped two small telcos, Guaranteed Telecom and Met Technologies, with a financial penalty for switching the home phone services of more than 100 people without their knowledge or consent.

The businesses used a particularly aggressive style of mis-selling – slamming – to transfer customers to their services without permission, an investigation by the UK's comms regulator found.

Some 110 customers in total were slammed by the companies in 2019 (43 by Guaranteed Telecom and 67 by Met Technologies). A "sizeable proportion" of them included elderly or vulnerable members of the public, Ofcom says.

"In many cases," it notes, "even when customers cancelled the order to take over their landline service, the companies made repeated attempts to transfer them," the watchdog adds.

In the process of its probing, Guaranteed Telecom and Met Technologies actually prevented customers (27 and 25 respectively) from transferring to another phone provider after they had slammed them.

"So, we have fined Guaranteed Telecom £10,000 and Met Technologies £25,000," Ofcom said. "The companies should also release affected customers from their contracts without charge, and refund those who had already switched and paid early termination fees."

The penalty must be paid inside two months and will go to Her Majesty's Treasury.

Guaranteed Telecom also trades as Zoom Telecom, and Met Technologies also trades as Millennium Talk and Met-Plus Telecom. The businesses are separate legal entities but are under common management, said Ofcom.

According to UK business repository Companies House, Guaranteed Telecom filed abbreviated accounts for the year ended 30 September 2020 showing a loss of £901 on turnover of £290,877. It lists Kunal Gupta, based in India, as managing director.

Gupta is also managing director at Met Technologies, which reported a profit of £11,079 on revenue of £589,512 in the year to 31 January 2020. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021