Ofcom’s 2019 Fairness for Customers highlights

09 January 2020

In 2019 we continued our work to help make sure people are treated more fairly by the companies who provide their home phone, broadband, mobile and pay-TV services.

Our ‘Fairness for Customers’ programme is all about making things better for the people who use the services we regulate, and we’re pleased to say our 2019 announcements were well received by consumers. Here’s a selection of some of our work and the feedback we received.

March

In March we introduced the broadband speeds code of practice, which means broadband customers must be told how fast their new service will be, before they sign a contract. If the service doesn’t match these speeds and the provider doesn’t improve performance within a month, customers are allowed to end the contract without being penalised.

April

April saw the launch of automatic compensation for broadband and home phone customers. Under this scheme, customers will get money back from their providers if things go wrong with their service, without having to ask for it. The UK’s biggest broadband and home phone firms have signed up to the scheme.

May

In May we announced end-of-contract notifications, which come into force next month. These rules mean broadband, phone and pay-TV companies must tell you when your contract is coming to an end, and must tell you about the best deal available to you.

June

In June the UK’s biggest phone, broadband and pay-TV providers signed up to our Fairness for Customers commitments. This means they pledge to make sure people are always treated fairly – whether they are signing up to a new deal, trying to fix a problem or switching to a new provider.

We also published our draft Fairness Framework, aimed at stamping out unfair practices in broadband, phone and pay-TV. The framework explains to companies how we will consider whether their practices and the way they treat their customers is fair, and where we may need to step in.

July

Our text to switch rules came into force in July, giving you the right to leave your mobile network by sending a simple, free text message.

We also set out measures to make sure mobile customers benefit from clearer and fairer contracts, and price cuts. These measures included rules on transparency, contracts and alerts when your contract is up.

September

In September we set out measures that will help to make sure broadband customers who are out of contract pay fairer prices, and providers better protect vulnerable customers.

December

Finally, in December we set out our plans to ban mobile phone companies from selling ‘locked’ handsets, to help make switching even simpler for customers.

We have plenty of work lined up for 2020 and beyond, so keep your eyes on the news section of our website, as well as our Twitter, Instagram and Facebook profiles to find out more.