The definition of ‘mis-selling’, offered by industry regulator Ofcom, covers a range of sales and marketing activities that can ‘work against the interest of both consumers and competition and undermines confidence in the industry as a whole’, according to BT regional director for the North West, Brian Crouch.
In short, the term refers to any sales and marketing strategies that are misleading, deceitful or oppressive. These strategies range from including extra services in small print and refusing to provide information without a signature (which is usually presented as a formality, but then ties someone to a contract) through to ‘slamming.’ This specifically concerns the telecoms industry and involves transferring one’s calls or phone lines without prior consent.
According to BT’s report, there have even been cases where unscrupulous sales people have gone as far as forging customers’ signatures. BT is currently working with Ofcom to minimise this form of illegal and aggressive marketing and has also developed a section of their website specifically aimed at SMEs who have experienced such tactics (www.bt.com/business/misselling).
Ofcom advises that businesses always ask for the details of the salesperson they are dealing, avoid signing anything unless they are sure what it contains and obtain copies of any documents concerned with a call or visit.