Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director, said: “We’re pleased the CMA has highlighted the commitments we’ve secured from mobile and broadband companies, which will mean millions of customers pay less for their contracts. And from next month, all providers will be required to send customers alerts letting them know when their contract is coming to an end and what their best deals are. These measures will make a big difference to customers – particularly those who are vulnerable – and we’re continuing our work to help people get fairer deals.”
Ofcom’s Fairness for Customers programme includes a range of initiatives to help ensure customers are treated fairly and can find the best deals for them, including:
- Fairer prices for broadband and mobile customers. Following our reviews of broadband pricing and mobile handset contracts, we secured commitments from providers to reduce the prices out-of-contract customers pay. While we do not have the legal power to force companies to move people onto default tariffs – such as an equivalent ‘SIM-only’ deal when someone’s initial contract has passed – or to cap prices in general, these commitments from industry will help reduce customers’ bills.
- New end-of-contract alerts. From next month, broadband, phone and TV customers must be told when their initial contract is coming to an end, and shown the best deals available.
- Protecting vulnerable customers. We’ve proposed new guidelines to help make sure companies improve how they identify and support vulnerable customers.
- Simpler switching. People can now change their mobile provider by sending a simple text. We’ve also proposed new rules to make it easier to switch broadband networks; and unveiled plans to make switching easier by banning mobile handsets ‘locked’ to a network.
- Challenging firms to put fairness first. We welcome the UK’s biggest broadband, phone and pay-TV companies committing to put fairness at the heart of their business, by signing up to Ofcom’s Fairness for Customers commitments.
- Clear, honest information for broadband shoppers. Broadband shoppers can now get better information before they commit to a contract, including speed guarantees.