Oftel director general, Don Cruickshank, has decided not to take further action against BT following complaints of anti-competitive behaviour last month.
BT was accused by CableTel, a rival telecom company, of giving misleading and potentially damaging information to customers for the second time in November following initial complaints in September. But Cruickshank decided BT had put into place "sufficient measures necessary to prevent its staff engaging in anti-competitive behaviour".
Cruickshank based his findings on a report submitted to him by the Consumers' Association, which conducted a survey covering three areas "of customer contact", including BT shops.
The survey revealed a number of "positive actions" taken by BT which included performance assessment and a full range of penalties for non-compliance. These penalties would, the survey found, result in instant dismissal for BT sales staff who continued to offer erroneous information about competitors.
But Cruickshank remained cautious and warned that "proof of the effectiveness of these measures will take time to emerge". He went on to admit that other complaints had occurred since the CableTel allegations, but said "BT has investigated these promptly and fully and has clearly indicated it is carrying through its intentions with new-found conviction."
Cruickshank added: "Only if I were satisfied that the measures taken by BT would fail to have the desired effect, would I be able to confirm the order against BT."
Alison Smith, CableTel's spokesperson is cautiously optimistic about the future. She said "Our reaction is that if they comply, that's great, but because of our past experiences we will obviously be looking at this situation very carefully."
If BT is found in the future not to have complied with Cruickshank's provisional order, issued on 3 September, a second order would allow any companies who had been affected by BT's actions to sue the company.
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