Landline Comparison explains that Disabled Services not being promoted by Landline Providers.
An industry wide mystery shopping campaign has discovered that landline providers are not actively advising customers of the services available to the disabled. Landline providers and providers of mobile communication services are required by Ofcom to provide services including;
• Access to an approved text relay service for people who are hearing- or speech-impaired, with rebates to compensate customers for the additional time taken by these calls
• Free directory enquiries for consumers who are unable to use a printed directory because of a disability, with through-connection of calls
• Priority fault repair (fixed line only) for customers who depend on the telephone because of ill-health or disability
• Third party bill management, enabling a nominated friend or relative to act on behalf of someone who needs help to manage their affairs
• Bills and contracts in formats such as large print and Braille on request
However, not only are the mobile and landline providers required to provide these services they are also expected to take reasonable steps to promote and communicate their availability to customers. Ofcom conducted a telephone survey of the main mobile and landline providers and found that communication of these services had fallen since their last survey in 2006.
Only 37% of the mystery shops resulted in the customer being told of at least 1 of these services by their mobile or landline providers. The figure rose to 75% when prompted by the mystery shopper but this is still a significant fall from the 2006 result of 91%.
The results are disappointing because the services are being provided, but the landline providers aren’t making the most of their opportunities to let potential customers know.
Ofcom have asked for proposals from each of the mobile and landline providers as to how the situation will be improved. However, in the meantime the message to customers is clear – if you have the need of a service that isn’t advertised up front by the landline providers then call them and ask if its available.
If you can’t get the service you want from your current landline providers then shop around as services like these can be a bigger incentive for consumers to switch their landline providers than simply saving money.
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