10/28/2009 10:50:00 AM
Consumers confused by plethora of deals
A profusion of over 1.3 million mobile deals is leaving consumers unable to make informed choices, according to watchdog Consumer Focus.
In a hard hitting report that urged Ofcom to act, Consumer Focus identified complex tariffs, poor pricing transparency, quality of service and ‘not-spots’ as key consumer concerns that need to be tackled without delay.
The report is based on an online survey in which 67% of respondents said there were too many mobile tariffs on the market.
Consumer Focus telecoms expert Audrey Gallacher said: ‘With 1.3 million deals on the market and packages offering different allocations of voice minutes, text messages and data allowances as well as bundled deals, it is no wonder consumers are bewildered.
As a result, people often sign up for unsuitable packages and over spend.’
Gallacher said shopping around for the best deal was difficult with ‘hidden’ costs muddling the picture.
Concerns over quality of service were also raised in the survey, with one
fifth of consumers reporting poor customer service, including poor handling of complaints and unhelpful staff.
Consumer Focus criticised Ofcom’s decision to withdraw the requirement for telecom providers to operate Topcomm, the industry operated service comparison website for fixed line, as part of Ofcom’s review of customer service quality.
The report states: ‘Consumer Focus informed Ofcom that a replacement model should have been agreed before the Topcomm scheme was withdrawn.’ The watchdog urged Ofcom to ‘take action in this area without further delay’.
An Ofcom spokeswoman said the Topcomm scheme was withdrawn ‘as it wasn’t providing meaningful information for consumers’.