A Year Ago: Oftel moves to stop BT's poaching

First published: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 17:45:31 GMT

Following IT Week and ZDNet's reports of BT's abuse of customer records, OFTEL has taken steps to ensure it will not happen again.

The regulator said that customer complaints, which described how BT telesales staff had identified Internet users from their phone bills and then tried to switch them to BT's new Click service, had appeared to be "an abuse of BT's dominant position, [and] in contravention of the Fair Trading Condition in their licence".

David Edmonds, the Director General of telecommunications, said "We carried out an urgent investigation and OFTEL has discussed the complaints with BT. I welcome BT's confirmation that it is taking action to ensure staff promoting Internet services do not have access to customer calling information."

He continued: "I have made it clear to BT that if any further incidents of this kind occur I will consider further action which could include the issuing of an Order against BT. We will continue to protect consumers' interest by ensuring that there is fair competition in the provision of information services."

Graham Davis, Sales and Marketing Director at Cix -- the service where users first complained openly of the practice -- commented: "We welcome Oftel's prompt action. It's wholly unacceptable that a company such as BT with such influence uses its power in such an unfair way."

Neither BT or ISPA were available for comment.