Government to crack down on Oftel following 118-118 scandal

6 Oct 2003

The UK government has announced plans to launch an investigation into the regulatory actions of the country’s telecoms watchdog Oftel after it virtually turned a blind eye to the furore created by one of the new directory inquiries companies, The Number. Employees at the company, which operates the 118-118 service, were last month accused of deliberately giving out wrong numbers to customers in a bid to meet call response times and thus earn bonuses. The Number sacked 30 staff following the revelation, but Oftel refrained from imposing financial or other regulatory penalties. Meanwhile, the directory enquiries company faces a further legal problem: former British 10,000 metre runner David Bedford has threatened to launch a lawsuit against the company, claiming that its marketing campaign involving two runners has been based on his 1970s appearance without his permission.

United Kingdom