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.
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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. ®