Watchdog to investigate Tesco

Ofcom is to investigate Tesco’s telecoms division after customers complained the supermarket switched services without consent and then refused to cancel the orders. The media and telecoms watchdog will investigate whether the supermarket has been mis-selling services.

It says it will look at whether Tesco Telecoms has complied with obligations under relevant consumer protection legislation and the requirement to have and adhere to a code of practice for sales and marketing activity.

Ofcom launched the probe this week following a “significant increase” in the number of customers cancelling using a “cancel other” process only permitted in certain circumstances, including where an allegation of mis-selling has been made by the consumer or where the gaining provider fails to cancel a transfer on the consumer’s request.

Ofcom says it has also received complaints from consumers who allege they were mis-sold Tesco Telecoms’ fixed-line telephone service. Complainants allege that Tesco Telecoms failed to cancel orders on request and that consumers were forced to contact their existing supplier to prevent the transfer of service to Tesco Telecoms.

Tesco blamed the problems on a billing system and denied it had deliberately mis-sold.

Ofcom has launched a number of investigations into alleged misconduct by individual communications providers.

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