The CMT are contacting almost 300 customers to discover if Telefónica have been stealing customers from alternative operators such as Direct Telecom by using methods that are not regulated.
The 5th of April 2011, the CMT (Spain’s OFCOM) published a resolution in which it has been decided to open a sanctioning file against Telefónica for the use of serious dubious customer recovery mechanisms. The company could be looking at a multi million Euro fine that could be approximately 20.000.000€. Although we all know this is pocket money to them, and considering the fact they seem to get away with almost everything we have to admit we do not precisely feel sorry for them. We are certain that at least 48 million people in Spain are happy to hear this news (isn’t that almost the whole country?)
The accusation came to light when Orange (France Telecom) filed a complaint in August 2010 and has subsequently lead the CMT to investigate the apparent dodgy methods that Telefónica were using. Basically, Telefónica have found a way to avoid the bureaucratic process that is supposed to be followed by law when winning customers back.
They make the sales pitch by offering rates that are even lower than the Alternative Provider’s purchase price and promise to get them connected within a couple of days. This should not be possible because by law, the alternative provider should have at least 5 days time and notice to be able to contact the customer to find out why they are interested in switching back to Telefónica. Fact is that neither the alternative operator nor the customers have much of a chance to think things through because within about 24 hours, an engineer has already gone round to the local switch to simply connect the customer up to Telefónica. Seeing as the legal procedure takes too long, they simply decide to connect the customer back on their own service by connecting the customer to a new port in the switch as if it were a brand new land line. If this were the case, the customers should have a brand new PTR (Point of entry Land Line socket) installed in their premises and this is not the case.
Once again, it seems that Telefónica (Movistar) continue to take advantage of their dominant situation, and will now once again face a fine.
Evidence so far shows that 81% of the contacted customers never had new lines installed, and this proves that Telefónica have simply stolen the line back by avoiding all the set procedures that the rest of us follow to the book.