|Programme into||Communications Providers (‘CPs’) offering fixed line telephony, broadband, mobile, and/or pay TV services to consumers|
|Case opened||28 June 2017|
|Case closed||20 September 2019|
This enforcement programme is looking at the charges imposed by CPs when consumers on fixed term contracts terminate those contracts early (early termination charges or ‘ETCs’). Under the programme, Ofcom is collecting information and reviewing consumer complaints to assess whether there are any issues with the transparency and fairness of ETCs, and whether any further action, including enforcement action, is required.
|Relevant legal provision(s)||
General Condition C1.2, C1.3 (previously 9.2 and 9.3) and the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (‘the CRA’)
Ofcom is today announcing the closure of its enforcement programme into early termination charges (‘ETCs’).
Communications Providers (‘CPs’) should ensure their ETCs are fair and transparent to consumers on fixed term contracts. Where this is not the case, this is likely to hinder the ability and willingness of consumers to switch provider when that may be in their interests. This in turn may undermine competition and result in harm to consumers.
Through our ETC programme, we have successfully tackled a wide range of issues relating to CP’s ETCs and/or the transparency of ETC information made available by CPs to consumers, to ensure the following:
In light of these successes to date and generally high levels of compliance, we have decided that it is no longer necessary to undertake this enhanced level of monitoring. As a result, we are closing this enforcement programme.
Nevertheless, ensuring ETCs are fair and transparent to consumers are among the most important regulatory obligations on telecoms companies. We therefore remain committed to ensuring there are no issues of concern with the transparency and fairness of ETCs and that companies continue to comply with their obligations in this area.
We will continue to monitor compliance and maintain an oversight of these important requirements albeit we envisage many of the aims and objectives of the ETC enforcement programme will be taken forward under the Customer Fairness programme. We will not hesitate to consider formal enforcement action where we identify any suspected non-compliance.
Rachel Bennett (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)