Page last updated at 05:35 GMT, Wednesday, 16 September 2009 06:35 UK

Mis-sold mobile crackdown starts

A man using his mobile phone
Poor signal and confusion over contracts are among the gripes

Measures to crack down on the mis-selling of mobile phone contracts have been brought into force by the communications regulator Ofcom.

Firms face simpler rules which could lead to them being fined up to 10% of turnover if they mis-sell.

A voluntary code of conduct failed to reduce complaints.

Cashback offers, when customers buy a handset up front and then are refunded the cash over the course of the contract, are under scrutiny.

Restrictive terms and conditions, which were often difficult to understand, meant some of these customers had failed to receive money they were expecting. Other retailers have gone bust, leaving customers without their money, Ofcom said.

Examples

The regulator is demanding that companies offer accurate information when customers sign up for a contract.

Ofcom said other examples of mis-selling complaints from consumers had included:

  • Finding themselves signed up to a more expensive tariff than agreed at point of sale
  • Upgrading their 12 month contract believing they were signing up to another 12 month deal, but then finding themselves entering into a new longer contract
  • Signing up to a service after being told coverage in their area is good, but then finding that they have little or no reception.

The regulator said it would now be monitoring communications providers' adherence to the rules.

Different rules for the providers of landlines will be introduced on Thursday.



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