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Lycatel commits to provide clearer charges

Ofcom has accepted a written undertaking from Lycatel in respect of its advertisements and terms and conditions for Lycatel international calling cards. This is with a view to ensuring its customers have accurate information when purchasing Lycatel international calling cards.

Ofcom’s investigation found that Lycatel’s advertisement of its international calling cards potentially breached the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999. Lycatel has co-operated fully with the investigation and has given an undertaking to Ofcom to ensure its advertisements:

  • clearly state to consumers the headline number of minutes that they will receive and that minutes are reduced by certain fees and/or charges in a manner which is clear and understandable;
  • provide consumers with material information in a manner which is clear, intelligible and unambiguous, including for example, connection fees, maintenance charges and the fee charged at the end of a call (“the post call fee”);
  • ensure that material information, such as terms and conditions, is displayed in clearly legible font; and
  • do not use the post call fee term in its current form.

Lycatel has undertaken to replace its existing advertisements in the market place by the beginning of December 2010.  Ofcom will monitor compliance with the undertaking.  Ofcom will also be monitoring other suppliers of international calling cards to ensure that consumers have clear and accurate information when purchasing calling cards.

If Lycatel fails to comply with the undertaking, Ofcom can apply to the courts for an Enforcement Order to stop Lycatel engaging in certain practices.

Claudio Pollack, Ofcom’s Director of Consumer Affairs, said: "Ofcom represents consumers’ interests and is determined to take action where there is evidence of consumer harm."

Full details of the case can be found here: http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/enforcement/competition-bulletins/cases-in-compliance/cw_01046/.

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