Broadband and pay-TV providers to notify customers when contract ends
Broadband, home phone and TV customers will be told by their current providers when they are approaching the conclusion of their contract period under new guidelines outlined by regulator, Ofcom.
Ofcom said that more than 20 million customers on communications or TV packages were outside their minimum contract period, with over 10 million broadband and TV users on packages where prices would rise automatically at the contract expiry. Ofcom stated that customers that stayed with their existing provider that had an automatic increase at the end of the contract period could see on average a 20% increase in annual costs for their services.
The initiative is part of Ofcom’s plans to encourage consumers to shop around for the best deal, which may be staying with their existing provider or finding an improved broadband, phone or TV from a different service provider. The majority of providers do not remind customers when their minimum contract was coming to an end or notify them that the price would increase.
Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director, Lindsey Fussell, said, "There is so much choice out there for people, but we're concerned many are paying more than they need to - particularly those who are out of contract,"
"Consumers have told us they want to be alerted that their contract's coming to an end and get advice on what their options are, and we're proposing that providers must do exactly that."
Ofcom’s proposals will see providers send out a letter to all existing out-of-contract customers who initial contract period had run out. Providers have also been asked to tell customers about changes to their service or the price of those services, and if they could save money, between 40 and 70 days prior to the expiry of the initial contract period.
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