Lots of companies compete to offer you telephone and broadband services.
Companies use different sales and marketing tools to attract customers. While most of these are done responsibly, some companies use dishonest activities such as mis-selling.
One form of mis-selling is known as ‘slamming’, where customers are switched (or attempted to be switched) from one company to another without their knowledge or consent.
You might only become aware of this after receiving a bill from a different company.
Slamming is completely unacceptable and an extreme form of mis-selling. Tackling slamming is a priority for Ofcom.
We have introduced tough rules to clamp down on slamming. Telecoms companies that break our rules face fines of up to 10% of their annual turnover.
In March 2010, we introduced stronger rules (for home and small business customers) to protect you from mis-selling and slamming. In June 2015, we extended these rules to the mis-selling and slamming of broadband services.
We keep an eye on how firms comply with these rules, and will take action against any company that does not comply with them.
We also speak to phone companies regularly. The data we collect from them about mis-selling helps us decide whether or not to launch an investigation.
The switching process for telephone and broadband services includes measures to protect you from being slammed.
You will receive letters from your old phone company and new company to let you know you are moving provider. It will include the date that the transfer will take place.
If you don’t want to move to a new phone company, you should tell the provider who has taken over your service that you did not agree to the transfer. If you do this within 10 days, they will be able to put a stop to the transfer and you can carry on as before.
If the provider refuses to cancel the transfer, ask your current provider to cancel the transfer. This should be possible up until 24 hours before the transfer is due to complete, but it is best to do this at least 48 hours beforehand.
If the service has already transferred, ask your original provider to transfer you back to them.
If you are aware of the company involved and wish to take the matter further, follow their complaints procedure. If this does not resolve the matter, and you are a home or small business customer, raise it with the relevant Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme. If you are a business customer with more than 10 employees, seek independent legal advice.
You 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, taking action. You can help us make sure that others don’t fall victim to this form of mis-selling.