What is mis-selling?

Competition for telecoms services has led to an increase in direct selling methods such as door-to-door or telesales. Although most companies take a responsible approach to these sales techniques, a minority have been involved in mis-selling.

Mis-selling can take the following forms:

  • Providing false or misleading information
  • Asking a customer to sign a document 'for information', which in fact authorises a transfer of services from one provider to another
  • Using unacceptable pressure to try to coerce the customer into signing up
  • 'Slamming': switching a customer to a different service provider without their knowledge or consent

What action can I take to prevent mis-selling?

  • Beware of sales people saying their company is part of BT, working in association with BT, or that 'BT has sold its customers' to the salesperson's company - we do not operate in this way
  • Always make a note of the sales person's name, company they claim to represent, time and date of any sales call you receive
  • If you receive a sales visit at home, ask to see the salesperson's identity card and make a note of their name and company
  • Ask how any promised savings on your BT line or calls are calculated
  • Do not give out bank account details over the phone unless you are certain who you are dealing with, and why they need those details (for example, if you have agreed to move your service and pay by Direct Debit)
  • Never give out your bank details to verify your identity
  • Do not give out your bank account details or sign anything if you only require information on products and services or call costs etc
  • Do not sign anything to acknowledge a sales visit
  • Always make it very clear whether you are accepting or refusing a sales person's offer

What help is available to me if I think I have been subject to mis-selling?

If you are within the transfer period, BT may be able to cancel the order if:

  1. your service is transferred without your being contacted
  2. you were contacted but gave no permission
  3. you agreed to buy something, but got a different product or service
  4. you were deliberately misled into believing that you were making an agreement with a different company

You'll receive a transfer letter from us which includes a telephone number to call in these circumstances. Just call us as soon as possible, and we'll do the rest.

You should contact your new telephone company if:

  1. you gave your consent to change but feel you were either pressurised into doing so or the service you've agreed to is different from the one provided
  2. you did not give your consent to transfer but the transfer date (shown in the letter from BT) has already passed
  3. you were pressurised, either on the doorstep or over the phone
  4. you were told that 'BT had sold its customers' to the new telephone company
  5. you were told you had to agree to transfer some or all of your calls and/or lines just to get information about its services
  6. you are outside the transfer period but still feel you have been misled

If you don't know who your new telephone company is, call the number on the letter you will receive from BT telling you that your calls or lines will be transferred – we may be able to help.

Further help and information

Ofcom is the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK's communications industries. Their website is a useful resource.

Alternatively you could contact your local MP who may lobby for changes and improvements to prevent mis-selling. Contact details are available through the United Kingdom Parliament website, or by calling the House of Commons Information Office on 0207 219 4272.

You can read our Code of Practice >

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