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New Protections from Ofcom to prevent landline switching frustrations

New Protections from Ofcom to prevent landline switching frustrations

Ofcom have New protections in place to stop landline switching frustrations.

Thanks to a relatively new process put in place by telecoms regulator Ofcom you will now have more power over your landline provider if they try to stop you from taking your phone number to a new supplier.

Everyone is entitled to keep their existing telephone numbers, regardless of which phone company they are with.

Under Ofcom rules, phone companies must allow customers to take their telephone number with them to a new provider when they switch. This is known as ‘number porting’.

There have been previous incidents where existing suppliers have made things extremely difficult for customers 

to keep their phone numbers when switching to a new supplier.

Ofcom have previously fined companies who have blocked customers from moving their numbers to a new provider.

The telecoms Industry was instructed to develop a process which protects customers by overriding attempts to prevent customers from taking their number with them.

This process is now up and running.


How the process works

As of July 2019 if your request to port your number is being ignored or refused, your old provider will be put on notice and have up to five days to resolve any issues. If this doesn’t happen, you can now trigger a process that will enable your new provider to override this obstacle.

First, you need to submit a complaint on Ofcom’s website. This will generate a reference number, which you then need to give to your new provider.

An independent industry panel – which includes the Office of the Telecoms Adjudicator – will then assess your case. Subject to your case satisfying certain criteria, this panel can authorise your new provider to override the issue and expedite the porting of your number.


Protecting customers

Ofcom’s number porting rules protect people from the inconvenience and cost of having to change their phone number.

It is particularly important for businesses, who would face significant costs and other issues if they had to change their phone number, such as needing to change their marketing materials, or potentially losing business from customers who try to call their old number.

The rules also make it easier for people to switch. If a customer experiences problems when trying to port their number, this might put them off switching provider in future.


Moving your Landline Number to a New Service Provider? Local case 

In October 2019 08UK received a call from a local businessman who was experiencing issues with moving his elderly mothers Landline and Broadband services to a new provider. The timeline below was provided by the local businessman and is an account of what happened this involved the local business, John Lewis, Talk-Talk, Vodafone and BT Openreach. The incompetence of these so called big companies left an elderly lady with no phoneline for 3 weeks. This period would have been even longer had it not been for a sports celebrity friend posting details of the experience on their social media channels.

The previous month he had arranged for John Lewis to port his mothers Talk-Talk landline and associated phone number to their network. The new contract for line and broadband was set to begin on the 5th October to give some margin before the Talk-Talk contract ended on 9th October. He had been advised that the process for moving the phone number to John Lewis would be seamless with no downtime or loss of service.

On the 9th October the number stopped working altogether so he contacted JL to report the problem.
He was then advised that they were working on some technical issues with the port and they would update him in due course.
For several days afterwards he received no update so contacted them again only to be greeted with the same inadequate response.

One week later on 16th October JL advised that the number had finally been accepted for porting and the number would be live on 21st October. This would suggest the port had not been applied for by JL in the correct timeframe in line with the arranged new services which were scheduled to commence on the 5th October. 

Telecoms industry regulator Ofcom sets the rules and regulations for number porting in the UK. There is a 48 hour window for the losing party (in this case Talk-Talk) to respond to JL’s request to port the number. 

On 21st October the line didn’t activate so he called JL again and explained that he was becoming increasingly frustrated as his 87 year old mother had no other means to contact the outside World so it was absolutely imperative to get her phone number working again and this needed dealing with the upmost urgency. 

On 24th October JL sent a message that an appointment had been made for an engineer to visit his mums house on the 31st October.

Later that day he received notification that the scheduled engineer visit was a mistake and he was told to ignore the email. Further to this notification he was then informed that the account order had been completely cancelled due to him calling to cancel? He had never called JL to cancel and was then advised that the agent concerned had made a mistake.

On 30th October JL made contact to advise the port had finally been accepted and that the phone number would be live on 11th November. He stated that the 11th November was unacceptable as his elderly Mother had been without a phone for over 3 weeks and JL were looking at another 11 days to connect. JL then said they would try to bring the date forward to Nov 5th.

JL then informed him that a welfare case needed to be raised, he wasn’t happy as he had been informed a welfare case had been raised 9 days ago.

He then suggested to JL that a special exception needed to be made to get his mothers phone number working again quickly to which JL became very defensive.

They blamed Openreach, Talktalk and Vodaphone for the problems and said nobody in the JL office building had the power to bring the date forward.

JL suggested he should contact Talktalk to get the line reconnected to make the port easier for JL.
He then spent an hour talking to Talktalk requesting a line reactivation but they refused to help. Following that he spoke to Openreach on livechat who informed him that JL could actually expedite the case for an elderly vulnerable person by following the correct procedure!

The businessman just so happened to have a close friend who is a professional so asked them if they wouldn’t mind mentioning the situation on social media. Within several hours JL responded to the social media post and contacted him saying the case had been raised to a higher level.

JL called him and apologised stating they would do everything they could as a company to resolve the case quickly. On the 31st October JL immediately called Openreach and arranged for the line to be connected the next day following our suggestion that they may not need an engineer visit!

JL offered 2 months free service (value of £33) as compensation for putting his mother at risk for a month without a telephone line and also for a month of stress and hard work in finding a way to finally solve a problem that should have been shouldered by John Lewis themselves.


If you would like to talk to one of our team to get any point clarifying please do not hesitate to contact us.
Call us now on 0800 692 7000 or email new@08uk.co.uk so we can call you back.

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