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How to avoid being slammed

worriedphoneThere are now lots of phone companies competing to offer telephony services to consumers.

Competition has many benefits, including choice and ultimately lower prices.

Companies use a variety of sales and marketing activities to gain customers and while the majority of these are carried out responsibly, some companies may attempt to gain customers through dishonest activities such as mis-selling.

There are various forms of mis-selling, one of which is known as “slamming” which is where customers are switched from one company to another without their knowledge or consent.

In some cases, you might only be aware of this once you’ve received a bill from a different company.

How to avoid being “slammed”

Here are some tips to help you avoid being “slammed”:

* Be wary of giving out personal information over the phone

* Only agree to something over the phone if you’re sure who you are talking to and what you’re signing up for; if you’re not sure, ask the caller to post the information to you first

* Ask to see identification from doorstep sellers to check that they are representing the company they say they are

* Don’t give out your direct debit details unless you’re certain you want to switch phone companies

* Don’t sign anything unless you’ve read it and are sure of what you’re signing up for

What to do if you’ve been “slammed”

There are a number of safeguards built into the switching process for landline phones, which have been designed to ensure that you are protected from being “slammed”:

* You will receive a letter from your old phone company, and also one from the new company informing you that you are moving provider

* If you don’t want to move to a new phone company, you should call your old phone company where you have been slammed and your new company where you have simply changed your mind. If you do this within 10 days they will be able to put a stop to the switch and you can carry on as before

* You should register a complaint using Ofcom’s online complaint form to tell us what’s happened and which companies are involved. Ofcom monitors complaints and is able to take action against companies that engage in “slamming”

Tell us about your experience

Consumers continue to play a vital role in helping us tackle slamming.

Although we can’t investigate individual cases, your complaints can lead to us launching investigations and ultimately to us taking action.

By working with us to tackle slamming, you can help bring about much wider benefits for millions of consumers and ensure that others don’t fall victim to this form of mis-selling.

I want to complain about slamming

Watch our video on phone mis-selling

PDF File Read our consumer guide

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