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Phone providers to be banned from charging for caller ID

Tuesday, September 19th 2017 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Landline providers will be banned from charging for caller display facilities from 1 October 2018.

The change is one of a number being made by Ofcom as it tweaks some of its regulations in order to provide more protection for consumers.

Ofcom said caller display features can help people screen nuisance calls.

Some providers, such as TalkTalk and Sky, offer the service to their landline customers at no extra cost but BT charges £1.75 a month and Virgin Media £2.25 a month.

As well as having to provide the service free of charge, providers will also need to ensure that the numbers being displayed are valid, dialable and uniquely identify the caller.

They will also be required to identify and block calls with invalid or non-dialable numbers.

Other changes being introduced by Ofcom next year include the requirement for all communications providers to offer disabled customers access to priority fault repair, third party bill management and accessible bills.

These facilities are already in place for landline and mobile services but will be extended to cover broadband.

Firms must also have clear policies in place for identifying vulnerable customers to ensure they are treated fairly and appropriately.

Ofcom’s examples of vulnerable customers include people with learning or communication difficulties and those suffering physical or mental illness or bereavement.

Rules on billing accuracy, which currently cover voice call services, are being extended to include broadband and complaints handling rules are being strengthened in a bid to speed up the complaints process for consumers.

Separately, Ofcom is consulting on its powers to withdraw telephone numbers if they are misused, for example to cause harm or nuisance, or to engage in fraud.

It is also looking at which public bodies can request communications services to be restored in the event of a disaster and how providers should handle cancellation requests from customers.

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