Contracts


Changes to terms and conditions

Phone and broadband providers can change the terms of a contract so long as they provide a month's notice.

If you believe the change is likely to particularly disadvantage you, your provider should consider this and, if they agree, allow you to end the contract without penalty.

If your provider wishes to increase the monthly subscription prices above the amounts you agreed when you signed the contract, they should give you the option to exit the contract without being penalised.

Some providers have contracts which set out that the monthly prices you pay will increase at certain times during the contract, for example increasing by inflation each year. This should have been made clear to you at the time you signed the contract but check your contract terms if you’re not sure.

Fair and transparent contract terms

Providers are required to make sure that their contract terms are fair and transparent. Ofcom has rules about the type of contract information that should be provided to you before you sign the contract, for example the key charges, the contract length and the procedures for cancelling.

How to complain

If you believe your provider hasn't properly notified you of changes to your terms and conditions, or if you believe an of the terms and conditions in your contract are unfair or weren't made clear to you, contact your provider's customer service department and say you want to make a complaint.

If, after considering your complaint, or after 8 weeks, your provider doesn't resolve the problem, ask them for a deadlock letter. This enables you to take your complaint to an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) scheme.

ADRs act as an independent middleman and 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 directly.

There are two ADR schemes – Ombudsman Services: Communications, and the Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS). All service 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.

Tell Ofcom

If you have had problems with the terms and conditions of your phone or broadband contract (whether because they have changed or you believe they are unfair), please let us know by filling out our short monitoring form .

Although Ofcom does not investigate individual complaints, your help in highlighting problems plays a vital part in our work and we may investigate a company if monitoring data reveals a particular problem.