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Phones 4U promises to stop breaching consumer law

Mobile phone supplier Phones 4U has promised Ofcom it will stop treating customers unfairly.

The move comes eight months after Ofcom published new proposals to fight mobile mis-sellingwhich included a potential fine of 10% of turnover for those that breach guidelines. This was in response to consumer complaints that rose from 460 in July 2007 to 700 a month by January 2008.

An Ofcom spokeswoman said Ofcom remained concerned at the level of mis-selling in the mobile sector. She said it would publish new general conditions governingthe sale of mobile phones and service contracts early in the new year, which werelikely to include fines of up to 10% of turnover against network operators in an attempt to get them to police their retail outlets better.

A six-month joint Ofcom and Staffordshire Trading Standards investigation found that Phones 4U had breached consumer protection laws by: not providing customers with a refund when they returned faulty handsets, which were bought directly from Phones 4U, within a reasonable timeincluding unfair terms in their handset return policyusing unfair terms contained in "chequeback" schemes andmaking misleading, false or deceptive representations or omissions to consumers about matters such as network coverage in particular areas, or what was included in their mobile phone plan.

Phones 4U has made changes to its handset return policy, "chequeback" terms and conditions, and sales practices, particularly relating to informing consumers what their network coverage will be, what their mobile plan will contain and cancellation rights and upgrades.

Ofcom saidPhones 4U co-operated fully during the investigation, which led to a "substantial reduction" in complaints. Ofcom and Staffordshire Trading Standards will monitor complaints about Phones 4U to make sure it complies with the undertakings.

Ofcom has more information for consumers about mobile mis-selling.


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