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Future’s SIM fiasco lands Chess with O2 clawback bill

Manny Pham
September 17, 2019

Dealer accused of mis-selling SIMs goes under after Chess pulls the plug on commission 

Airtime provider Chess ICT is understood to have been hit by significant cash clawbacks from O2 following the demise of one of its dealers, Future Communication Specialists.

Future, which was set up in 2016 and made £58,700 in profits that year, went bust after Chess allegedly halted commission payments to the company. The Future base comprises 3,500 mobile connections worth £1.24 million in contract renewals. Around 8,000 customers were on Future Comms’ books, including users of landline and other telecoms services.

Chess stated: “We are working closely with O2 on this matter and to address and resolve all customer issues as a matter of urgency.” O2 said its wholesale partners are responsible for any fraudulent or inappropriate behaviour among their direct resellers.

The operator said: “We are aware of issues that Chess and Plan.com have experienced with Future Communication Specialists, and we are working closely with both partners to ensure they address and resolve the issues these customers are facing as a matter of urgency.”

Future also sold through Plan, which said in a statement: “We sympathise with the small number of business customers who were introduced to us by Future Communication Specialists Limited, and have been affected by the company’s substandard customer care and eventual closure. “Our customer services team is working closely with each customer affected by Future Communication Specialists Limited to understand and agree the best course of action for them and their individual case.

“We’re pleased to have already helped more than 90 per cent of these customers secure a new arrangement that works for them and their business. We’re working hard to do likewise for the few customers remaining.

“We are also working closely with O2 and the relevant industry bodies, including the ombudsman and Ofcom, to ensure that we continue to meet all of our obligations in respect of this matter.

“We ask any Plan.com business customers with outstanding issues to contact us directly.”

‘FREE’ SIM CARDS

A BBC programme, Inside Out South, last week accused Future founders Lewis Tribble and Joe Stickler of mis-selling contracts by telling prospects they would receive extra SIM cards for “friends and family”. But the “free” SIMs incurred separate monthly charges.

A Future salesperson was recorded telling a customer: “You get two spare SIMs, so what people do is they give it to a family member or friends, and it will be included in the £165 [monthly bill].”

The customer was expecting to pay £165, but had to pay £934 in one specific month that included roaming charges.

Tribble and Stickler told the BBC that customers were given clear contracts. The two declined to comment to Mobile News.

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