10:05AM, Thursday 30 January 2020
The Royal Borough has taken action against a call centre which was taking money for services it could not provide and changing customers’ landline providers without consent.
The council’s trading standards team secured a voluntary undertaking against Kunal Gupta, the director of two telecommunications companies: Guaranteed Telecom Ltd and Met Technologies Ltd, trading as Zoom, Millenium Talk and Met Plus.
This followed more than 300 complaints about monthly direct debit payments for unknown services.
Consumers alleged that, following an initial cold call in relation to selling call blocking services, a direct debit was set up but no services were provided.
Call blocking services can only be activated by the actual telephone provider of the line, not by a third party.
The Royal Borough’s investigation found that through the two companies, nearly 13,000 UK residents had been impacted by the activities of Gupta and his companies.
The companies had a registered address in Maidenhead and were communicating with Royal Borough residents from an Indian call centre.
Further allegations were made that the companies had transferred consumers’ landlines without their consent or knowledge – known as ‘slamming’.
Consumers affected by the activities have now been helped and unauthorised direct debits have been cancelled.
Greg Nelson, trading standards and licensing manager at the Royal Borough, said: “The shocking targeting of some of our most vulnerable residents was of grave concern to us during this complex investigation and we are extremely pleased that we have been able to secure refunds for those affected by these activities.”
Cllr David Cannon (Con, Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury), lead member for public protection and parking, said: “I am very pleased that our trading standards team have been able to protect both our residents and those from further afield from this trader.
“I hope that consumers near and wide will find their top tips to prevent falling victim to these scams helpful.”
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