Changing provider

Published: 24 July 2023
Last updated: 5 September 2023

While millions of people successfully switch phone and broadband provider each year, we understand that not everyone enjoys a trouble-free switching experience.

Here is some advice on what you need to do if you are having problems switching your phone or broadband.


(being switched from your provider to another without your knowledge or consent)

If you think you have been switched to a new provider without your knowledge or consent, contact your old provider and ask that they switch your service back as soon as possible.

You should also contact the provider who has taken over your service and tell them you did not agree to the switch.

Explain the situation and ask them to investigate this for you.

If this does not resolve your problem, follow the steps under ‘Problems changing broadband provider’.

Attempted slamming

If you think someone is attempting to switch you to a new provider without your knowledge or consent, ask your current provider to cancel the order.

This should be possible up to 24 hours before the switch is due to take place. You should also tell the provider who is trying to take over your service that you wish to cancel.

If this does not resolve your problem, follow the steps under ‘Problems changing broadband provider’.

Tell Ofcom

You play a vital role in helping us tackle slamming.

Although we can't investigate individual cases, your complaints about slamming or mis-selling can lead to us launching investigations and ultimately to us taking action.

Complain to Ofcom

Problems changing broadband provider

Ofcom wants everyone to be confident that they can switch their broadband provider without unnecessary fuss.

When switching broadband providers, your new provider will be able to give you accurate information and advice on the steps you will need to take. All providers are required to do this.

For help with your individual complaint, follow these steps.

  1. Contact your provider’s customer services team and explain your problem.
  2. If this doesn’t resolve the issue, make a formal complaint to the company. You should find details of how to do this on the back of your bill, on their website or ask their customer services.
  3. If your provider is unable to resolve your complaint, ask for a deadlock letter. This will allow you to take your complaint to an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme.

ADR schemes act as an independent middleman. They will examine the case from both sides and reach a decision they think fair. If eight weeks have passed since you first formally complained you can contact the ADR scheme directly.

There are two ADR schemes: the Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS) and Communications Ombudsman. All providers must belong to one of the schemes.

Your provider will tell you which scheme it is a member of, or you can use our ADR checker.

  1. If you are still unable to resolve the problem, complain to Ofcom.
  2. Although we can’t investigate individual cases, your complaints can lead to us launching investigations and ultimately to us taking action.

Automatic compensation

From 1 April 2019, broadband and home phone customers will receive compensation from their service provider for delayed repairs, missed engineer appointments and delays with the start of a new service.

For more information on automatic compensation, see our guide.

Text to switch

You can now leave your mobile network by sending a simple, free text message, under new Ofcom rules.

Previously if you wanted to switch mobile network and keep your phone number, you usually needed to call your provider to ask for your porting authorisation code (PAC). This is the number you need to give to a new provider for the switching process to take place.

However, when calling their provider, customers were often frustrated by their unwanted attempts to persuade them to stay.

Our new ‘text-to-switch’ process makes it quicker and easier to leave your mobile company, by giving you more control over how much contact you have with your existing provider.

Read our guide to find out more.

Refused number porting

Phone providers must allow you to take their telephone number with you to a new provider when you switch. This is known as ‘number porting’.

If you think your provider is preventing or delaying you from porting your number, contact your new provider.

You may be asked to give them an Ofcom complaint reference number to start a short investigation. You can get this number by submitting a complaint via the Ofcom website.

An independent industry panel will then assess your case, and can override your old provider to complete the porting of your number.


Phone providers must offer compensation if they block or delay you from porting your number when switching.

They must also explain clearly how you can claim this compensation. Ask your provider for details.

From 15 February 2020, broadband, phone and pay-TV customers must be told about their provider’s best deals when their initial contract is coming to an end, and every year after that if they remain out of contract.

For more information on these notifications, see our latest update.

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