The rise of the broadband and telephone bundles has highlighted the problems that can occur if a users telephone or broadband or even both services are slammed. The disruption this can cause is immense, particularly in cases where none of the parties involved appear keen to go out of their way to help the paying customer.
Ofcom is making moves to try and reduce the level of slamming that goes on in the UK, and we thought that with around a year to before any telephone and switching rules come into effect that now was the right time to gather baseline data, so that we can judge how effective the changes by Ofcom are once in place. The results of the poll which received 1091 responses reveal that while the vast majority have not been slammed in the last three years, for those that have, over half did not have their original service restored.
Looking at just those that have been slammed, the poll indicates that some 52.5% of those slammed, never got their original services back. In the face of the large number who have never been slammed, the numbers may look small, but when you consider there are around 25 million telephone lines in the UK, this survey suggests some 1.65 million lines have had their broadband or telephone switched and did not get it restored.
The situation should have improved in the last few years, hence we restricted two questions to asking about peoples experience in that timeframe, and this reveals that a smaller number (8.3%) have had own service or someone they know service slammed.
Restricting the slamming to purely personal experience lowers the figures even more to 3.9%. Which while small, still represents a week or two of having to chase providers, and in some cases no internet access at all with all the corresponding hassles.
Once Ofcom implements a new telephone and broadband switching regime we will run the poll again, and see if there has been any impact. One thing Ofcom could do now, was to rule that no telephone or broadband provider is allowed to transfer a service based on door step sales, as the anecdotal evidence over the years from those who have been slammed is that this area, just as with the power industry is where most abuse occurs.
Of course it is possible that visitors to thinkbroadband are more savvy that the average consumer, and are more adept at avoiding slamming.