BT and TalkTalk rapped over broadband sales info

Summary:Fewer than half of customers calling BT and TalkTalk are given accurate broadband download speed information before the point of purchase, according to telecoms watchdog Ofcom.Ofcom said on Tuesday that the overall number of people being told about the download speeds of broadband packages had improved but that there were still companies, such as BT and TalkTalk, whose customer service staff failed to provide download speed information without being prompted in more than half of all calls.

Fewer than half of customers calling BT and TalkTalk are given accurate broadband download speed information before the point of purchase, according to telecoms watchdog Ofcom.

Ofcom said on Tuesday that the overall number of people being told about the download speeds of broadband packages had improved but that there were still companies, such as BT and TalkTalk, whose customer service staff failed to provide download speed information without being prompted in more than half of all calls.

Ofcom's 'Voluntary Code of Practice on Broadband Speeds' came into effect in 2008, but was recently strengthened to provide further protection for consumers before signing up for services. Similarly, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) also recently introduced new guidelines about broadband speed advertising.

Ofcom used 1,369 mystery shoppers between 17 December, 2011 and 19 January, 2012 to assess compliance with the code.

Other ISPs, namely Karoo, Sky and PlusNet fared better in the research with around 70 percent or more of customers being given speed information without prompting.

"ISP signatories have committed to give maximum speed estimates in the form of a range as early as practicable in the sales process," Ofcom said. "The research shows that in 93 percent of telephone enquiries made by mystery shoppers, an estimate of the broadband speed was given by the provider, and in 72 percent of cases an estimate was given in the form of a range."

Ofcom said that following discussions with BT and TalkTalk the companies have agreed to overhaul their staff training processes.

The watchdog also said it will review the code over the course of the next year to make sure it is "still appropriate for consumers' needs".

Topics: Mobility

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