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.
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 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.
Seamless connectivity is a must-have for businesses & consumers. Today's launch of the broadband compensation scheme is a great example of providers taking a proactive approach & working with @Ofcom to deliver for their customers. @CBItweets comment here: https://t.co/O8c58gR5mc https://t.co/CfQDFLURCm— Susannah Odell (@SusannahOdell) April 1, 2019
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.
@Ofcom Wonderful that u are forcing Telecoms to tell their customers when their contracts are coming to an end. I hope this forces them to state the expiry date of the contract on every statement,something they don’t do now.— Dr.Gerard Byrne (@dr_byrne1) May 15, 2019
As a loyal @virginmedia customer w/only internet I continue to pay more than a new customer w/internet, phone & TV. New rules from @Ofcom sound good, but the ripping off of loyal customers needs addressing! *Phone & BB users to get end-of-contract alertshttps://t.co/5Wc7JE3vzK— Thoughts Aloud ️ (@lpz3) May 15, 2019
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.
Vodafone UK signed up today to Ofcom’s Fairness for Customers commitments. From our mobile Spend Manager that allows you to set a spending limit to our Home Broadband Guarantee, we are introducing new ways to improve the customer experience. #FairnessForCustomers pic.twitter.com/hsLE2vOmEw— Vodafone UK News (@vodafoneuknews) June 3, 2019
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.
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.
It's easy to move your mobile contract to another supplier, without having to wrigle your way through different teams trying to persuade you to stay with them.— Ajay Pamneja | Online Marketing & Property Expert (@APamneja) July 1, 2019
Thank you Offcom. https://t.co/ezkHuXOuuc
Thanks to new powers introduced by the Digital Economy Act, @Ofcom have today announced a series of measures to make it easier for consumers to switch mobile services and save money when it comes to the end of their contracts #FairnessForCustomers https://t.co/A8P6yDw5i7 pic.twitter.com/EOSO1zoOyj— DCMS (@DCMS) July 1, 2019
Thank you Ofcom for giving us our power back. You can now switch your mobile network by text - new rules from Monday explained https://t.co/yUMaYt5iwV— Biniam (@Biniam25331433) July 1, 2019
This new "text to switch" rule seems great. Phone number switching was such a pain in the ass and rewarded the companies with the worst customer service that kept you on hold for ages. Nice one, Ofcom! https://t.co/fD4a2KIHzh— Sam Bowman (@s8mb) July 4, 2019
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.
That would be nice and a great relief. https://t.co/jJ5vkD9WuX— Joana (@JoanaBwilson) July 22, 2019
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.
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.
Ofcom about to ban networks locking their phones— ✪ (@YousufEmrani) December 27, 2019