Ofcom has issued a stern warning to London-based phone and broadband provider Continental Telecom, claiming it has broken consumer protection rules by using a form of mis-selling known as 'slamming' to switch customers to its services.
Telephone slamming involves a subscriber's telephone service being changed without their consent.
The watchdog said that Continental Telecom had exerted "unacceptable pressure " on customers to get them to enter into contracts, failed to inform customers of their rights, cut people off without warning for alleged non-payment and abused the trust of vulnerable customers.
Ofcom has issued a notification requiring Continental Telecom to comply with telecoms rules, and rectify any consequences arising from its breaches.
The company must now allow customers to end their contracts without incurring extra charges or penalty fees, and reimburse those who paid disconnection fees to transfer to other providers.
Continental Telecom must also reconnect suspended and disconnected customers by 5pm on 17 June 2010. Ofcom said that failure to comply will result in a suspension of Continental Telecom's services.
V3.co.uk tried to contact Continental Telecom but was unable to speak to anyone for comment.
The company could also be fined up to 10 per cent of its turnover if it fails to adhere to issues addressed in the notification.
Ofcom launched the review in February after several complaints from disgruntled customers.
A spokesperson for Ofcom said the issue of slamming remained prevalent, but noted that it had declined somewhat in the last 12 months and that with new powers to combat the practice brought in this March, hoped it would fall further.
"Consumers should be aware of these sorts of practices that can occur and should always ask for written information. We hope the warning to Continental Telecom will act as a warning for other telecom operators across the board," the spokesperson said.
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