Fone Logistics has been stung by a £150,000 clawback from O2 after the distributor ignored new procedures on poaching customers.
It emerged after O2 introduced new ‘rules of engagement’, blocking independents upgrading customers who originally signed up through O2’s direct channels.
O2 is believed to be working on new rules which would ringfence all of its direct partners’ customer bases, as well as its own, to stop direct distributors and dealers poaching customers.
Fone Logistics is understood to have initially dismissed the new instructions and failed to advise its dealers about the new rules. As a result, the distributor stands at the centre of £150,000 worth of disputed commissions between its dealers and O2.
One source close to the matter said: ‘They haven’t followed the correct procedure on the rules.’
Negotiations have been running between the distributor and operator over the last week, with a resolution believed to be agreed. Fone Logistics has argued that it legitimately upgraded some of the customers involved in the commissions.
Some of the wording of the new rules is still being debated ahead of the new terms, which officially come into effect on 1 October.
The source said: ‘There is likely to be an amicable and satisfactory agreement over the clawback but there is still a problem with not leaving any loopholes with the new terms.
Independents have long complained about operators’ direct sales teams poaching their customers with better deals.