Telecoms and TV firms must tell you about their best deals
Broadband, phone and pay-TV firms must tell you when your contract is coming to an end, and must also tell you about their best available deals, under new rules announced today by Ofcom.
We want you to have choice when it comes to your broadband, phone and TV package, and also want you to be able to get the deal that best suits your needs. You could do this by switching provider or by agreeing a new deal with your current one.
To help you do this, broadband, TV, mobile and home phone companies must now send you information about your contract, when you need it, so you can choose the best package for your needs. These protections are the latest in Ofcom’s Fairness for customers programme.
20 million people could benefit
According to our research, more than 20 million customers have gone beyond their initial contract period. Many of these could be paying more than they need to.
People who bundle their landline and broadband services together pay, on average, around 20% more when they are out of contract. This rises to 26% among customers who bundle their pay-TV with these two services.
Around one in seven customers (14%) don’t know whether they are still tied to their original deal; and around one in eight (12%) believe they are still in contract, but don’t know when that contract ends.
New alerts for customers
So, we have stepped in to ensure fairness for customers, by forcing telecoms and pay-TV companies to warn customers between 10 and 40 days before their contract comes to an end. These alerts will be sent by text, email or letter.
They will include:
- when the contract ends;
- the price paid before this date;
- any changes to the service and price paid at the end of the contract;
- information about any notice period required to end the contract; and
- the best deals offered by your provider, including telling existing customers what prices are available to new customers.
People who choose to stay with their provider without signing up to a new contract will be sent a reminder every year about their firm’s best deals.
Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director, said: “We’re making sure customers are treated fairly, by making companies give them the information they need, when they need it.
“This will put power in the hands of millions of people who’re paying more than necessary when they’re no longer tied to a contract.”
The changes will involve providers sending personalised and tailored information to millions of individual customers. To make sure they get this right, companies will have nine months to make the necessary changes to their systems and processes. Customers will start receiving the notifications from 15 February next year.
Fairness for customers
Our Fairness for customers campaign has also recently introduced:
- money back for broadband and landline customers when things go wrong;
- clear, honest information for broadband shoppers – before they commit to a contract – about what speeds they will get; and
- a major information campaign and website, Boost Your Broadband, to help people get faster broadband and save money.
On 1 July 2019, new rules will come into effect that will make it quicker and easier to switch mobile provider.