Dealers are concerned the clamp-down on poor quality connectors has, by association, tarnished the rest of the dealer channel. Dealers feel exposed after the mass cull of poor quality dealers by Orange last month and the demise of several big cashback players in recent weeks.
Amirul Choudhury of East London dealership Chytel Communications said: “The time has come to address this issue properly. The networks need to put their heads together on this and come up with a single list of bad dealers so they don’t try to connect again. Networks should reward those with a good track record and eliminate those with a bad one, once and for all.”
Mehren Mehmood of Fonetek, New Maiden, said: “Fraudulent dealers give independents a bad name. The networks are becoming more cautious of us because of it. Legitimate dealers are getting stuck in the middle. The networks need a single database to keep the bad guys out.”
Adam Smith, managing director of Shropshire-based Ask Business Mobile said: “A single hit list would be good to get rid of the rubbish, so networks and distributors could refer to it when considering applications.”
Hampshire-based Fone Trader managing director Greg Plunkett added: “The networks need a better way to tell the idiots who set up shop, shut down again and run. They’re the ones ruining things for us.”
But the networks dismissed the idea out of hand. Vodafone head of indirect Rob Sandford said: “On the practical side, all five main networks are different, so the best thing is to make sure we work according to Ofcom guidelines.
"All the networks are in different stages of growth. One network may judge its dealers on a customer’s lifetime value, whereas another may judge on the numbers of new connections. We have to give Ofcom a chance. The guidelines are relatively new so we have got to get behind them.”
Orange said the database would be “an anti-competitive practice”. A spokesman said: “Networks have different ways of deciding which dealers they should and should not work with.”
An O2 spokeswoman added: “There is no need for such a register. Networks have a duty to carry out due diligence on dealer applications under Ofcom’s code of practice.”