Operator 3 last week axed all 26 of its third party telesales stockists after launching a new ‘Promoters Approved’ scheme to eradicate mis-selling and decrease the levels of complaints ahead of Ofcom’s General Condition 23 (GC23).
3 terminated its agreements with all its outbound third party telesales stockists including those from distributors Fone Logistics, EBS, MoCo and HSC, as well as mobile traders Telecom3 and Landmark, as it looks to improve the quality of service received by new customers.
A number of telesales stockists have also been dropped based on the levels of business being received.
Distributors will continue to stock and sell 3 products and services – SIM card distribution, consumer airtime and business connections – but will not provide third-party telesales for 3.
The move comes ahead of Ofcom’s GC23 on Sales and Marketing of Mobile Telephony Services, which was created to reduce mis-selling from operators. The new Ofcom rule comes in to effect September 16. 3 claims the standard will exceed the terms outlined by Ofcom.
3 will now work closely with selected telesales partners through a new scheme created by 3 head of telesales Stuart Joce, called Promoters Approved, which currently consists of call centre stockists Garlands, Maia and Communications Direct.
3 has also confirmed it will look to add a further 10 in the next few months.
Promoters Approved stockists will work closely with 3 to ensure standards are maintained across all levels of customer service and sales. 3 will now manage all aspects of distribution and fulfillment of handsets.
Mobile News understands 3 made the decision due to the standard of service being provided to new 3 customers from third party telesales teams, which resulted in a “massively disproportionate” level of complaints against its direct telesales teams.
Examples of complaints from customers who have purchased through third-party telesales for 3 included threatening behaviour towards customers, fraud, miss-selling and a high levels of mid-term cancellations.
Third-party telesales partners through distribution typically earn around £10 profit per sale, with dealers earning in excess of £100 profit on each sale.
3 claims the move is not “money driven,” and its strategy to work with third party re-sellers remains.
A spokesperson for 3 said: “There are 26 stockists which we have traded with which we no longer will and it’s for a variety of reasons ranging from high levels of complaints, handset returns and cancellations within the first month.
“We are moving to Approved Promoters, which are still third party but they will work a lot closer with us, which will see them do the sales, and us do the fulfillment. It means they concentrate on getting customers and we work closely with them to ensure the quality remains high.
“The levels of complaints received are too high for us not to act. A very large chunk of complaints regarding mis-selling come from third party telesales.
“This does’t mean we are moving away from third party telesales. It remains a key acquisition tool for us, but we want to take more responsibility for the customer experience.”