19 June 2015
Changes coming into force tomorrow will make it easier for millions of consumers to change to a new broadband or landline deal.
From Saturday 20 June, the process of switching between providers who use the Openreach telecoms network - such as BT, EE, Sky and TalkTalk - will become simpler and smoother.
A new ‘one touch’ process will place the responsibility for the broadband or landline switch entirely in the hands of the company to which the customer is moving.
Currently consumers wanting to change provider face a number of different switching processes, depending on who they are moving from and to, and the type of service being switched.
Often consumers have to contact their existing provider to obtain a code to give to their new provider. That process can be confusing and time consuming and deter consumers from moving to a better deal.
Ofcom research has found that, in cases where the consumer had to contact their existing provider to request a change, the process can be significantly more difficult for consumers to follow.
Under the new system, consumers will no longer need to cancel their contract with their old provider. Instead, the whole switching process will be handled by their new supplier on their behalf.
Once the switching process is under way, the consumer will receive written confirmation from both the old and new provider. If the consumer changes their mind, they can cancel the switch.
Providers must also keep records of each consumer’s consent to switch, to protect against ‘slamming’ - where a customer’s supplier is changed without their knowledge or consent.
Sharon White, Ofcom Chief Executive, said: “The new process puts the responsibility for the switching process in the hands of the provider the customer is joining.
“This will make a real difference for consumers, and will encourage more people to take advantage of very strong competition in the landline and broadband markets.”
Ofcom is now looking at ways to make it easier for mobile phone customers to change provider.