Own-initiative investigation into Talk Plus Telecom Limited - adherence with its Code of Practice for sales and marketing and conduct relating to the transfer of customers between communications providers

09 November 2009

Complainant: Ofcom own-initiative investigation
Investigation against: Talk Plus Telecom Limited
Case opened: 07 May 2009
Case closed: 05 November 2009
Issue: Talk Plus Telecoms compliance with General Condition 14.5 and 1.2 of the General Conditions of Entitlement.
Relevant instrument: General Conditions 14.5 and 1.2 of the General Conditions of Entitlement.

Ofcom has closed its investigation into Talk Plus Telecom Limiteds (Talk Plus) adherence with its Code of Practice for Sales and Marketing activity and its conduct relating to the transfer of customers between communications providers. During the investigation, Ofcom examined the processes by which Talk Plus marketed its products and services to prospective customers and how it used the information provided to it during the customer transfer period.

At an early stage in our investigation, problems with Talk Plus processes and documentation were identified. We consider that these problems were the root cause of both (i) the complaints received by Ofcoms Advisory Team (OAT) and (ii) our concerns in relation to the information that we had gathered through our mis-selling monitoring and enforcement programme (the Programme) (http://www.ofcom.org.uk/bulletins/comp_bull_index/comp_bull_ocases/open_all/cw_960/) which had prompted the opening of this investigation.

As part of the investigation, we expressed concern about these failures to Talk Plus and consider that the company took immediate and effective steps to resolve the identified problems.

In addition, since the investigation was opened, there has been a sharp and sustained decline in the number of complaints received by OAT about Talk Plus. We consider that this decline, together with the remedial steps taken by Talk Plus during the investigation, have sufficiently addressed our concerns in relation to the information gathered through the Programme.

Our investigation therefore concluded that there are not reasonable grounds for believing that Talk Plus is contravening GC1.2 and/or GC 14.5. As such we have decided to close the investigation.

We will now monitor Talk Plus compliance with GC14.5 and GC1.2 for six months to ensure that these improvements are sustained and will re-open the investigation if appropriate. This will be in addition to Ofcoms ongoing industry-wide compliance monitoring.

If you are a consumer and you wish to register a complaint about Talk Plus you can do so by contacting OAT on 020 7981 3040 or 0300 123 3333. More information about how to complain to Ofcom can be found here http://www.ofcom.org.uk/complain/.

Text published when this case was opened

Ofcom has opened an own-initiative investigation into Talk Plus Telecom Limited, following receipt of information gathered through our enforcement programme: Monitoring and enforcement of mis-selling and conduct relating to the transfer of customers between communications providers (see related items), and complaints received by Ofcoms Advisory Team.

General Condition 14.5 requires that communications providers establish, and comply with, a Code of Practice for sales and marketing. The investigation will examine whether there are reasonable grounds for believing that Talk Plus Telecom has failed to comply with the requirements of its Code of Practice for Sales and Marketing. The investigation will also consider whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that Talk Plus Telecom Limited has failed to comply with General Condition 1.2 with regard to its use of information obtained during the customer transfer process.

If you are a consumer and wish to discuss this case please contact Ofcoms Advisory Team on 020 7981 3040 or 0300 123 3333.

Case Leader: Mark Thorndike (e-mail: Mark.Thorndike@ofcom.org.uk)
Case Reference: CW/01021/04/09