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Caller display fees could be banned under watchdog proposals

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
Phone companies could be banned from charging customers for using caller display services under proposals to combat nuisance calls announced today by Ofcom.

Caller display facilities allow you to see the number of the person calling, as long as it’s not from a withheld number and as long as your phone displays numbers. The latest research from Ofcom found that some phone providers were charging up to £2.25 per month for the facility.

The watchdog has also called for landline providers to identify and block calls with an invalid or non-diallable number as many nuisance calls come from such numbers.

Other proposals look to strengthen complaints handling rules to ensure complaints are dealt with promptly.

Ofcom wants to see that consumers are kept informed about the progress of their complaint and have faster access to dispute resolution services in case they reach deadlock with their provider.

It also wants to see broadband and mobile providers have fair and transparent debt-collection and disconnection practices in place and wants to extend the rules on billing accuracy, such as itemised bills, to include broadband and mobile data services. Currently this only applies to voice call services.

Other measures proposed include:

  • All communications providers to have clear, effective policies to identify vulnerable customers – such as people with learning or communication difficulties or those suffering physical or mental illness or bereavement – to ensure they’re treated fairly
  • All communications providers to offer disabled users access to priority fault repair, third party bill management and accessible bills. These measures currently only apply to landline and mobile services.

Ofcom expects to publish a revised set of rules later in the year.

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