A group of dealers from across the country met with Ofcom last week to discuss their concerns about cashback and to call on networks to police incentive deals and remove claw-backs.
The 12 dealers from the Independent Mobile Phone Dealer Association (IMPDA), which represents 490 dealers, met with representatives of Ofcom as part of the regulatory body’s on-going investigation into mis-selling and cashback.
Chair of the IMPDA Chris Caudle said: ‘The discussion we had was positive. Ofcom were not aware of how dealers have to operate under networks’ regimes, and we said quite forcibly in our argument that it’s the networks that have to change in order to bring a level playing field.’
The IMPDA accused the networks of ‘being complicit in encouraging redemption rates to achieve connection numbers’. It also cited the lack of a ‘level playing field’ caused by networks’ direct only line rental deals, and terms around contract renewal as two of the main reasons for dealers offering cashback deals.
The IMPDA called on networks to police all cashback deals, for legislation to force full cashback payments within 90 days with penalties for failure to comply, and the removal of claw-back by networks against dealers once connection has been made, except for fraudulent sales.
A spokeswoman for Ofcom said: ‘We have engaged with [the dealers] because they are an important stakeholder in respect of mis-selling and cashback issues. We will publish our point of view and address some of the issues mentioned in the IMPDA discussion document in our consultation document which will be published shortly.’
Caudle added: ‘It will be interesting to see what proposals they make - even if we only get one recommendation in, it will be the first time mobile dealers have actually had an influence on change.’
A similar meeting with distributors has also been suggested, while members of the IMPDA will be meeting with Roger Godsiff and other MPs later this month.
Ofcom’s findings are expected to be published in March.