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Ofcom applauds its own ‘end of contract’ rules

UK comms regulator Ofcom says the rules it has imposed on telcos compelling them to inform customers when contracts are up, and of any better available deals, are having a positive effect.

There is an uptick in customers taking out new contracts and securing better deals with their broadband providers having been reminded their contract is up, according to Ofcom who made it mandatory for this to happen with new rules for telcos. Ofcom introduced rules requiring phone, broadband and pay-TV providers to warn customers when their current contract is ending, and if they could save by signing up to a new deal in 2020.

Plusnet apparently saw the biggest increase in the number of customers taking out a new deal as a result of receiving one of these alerts, clocking a rise of 13%. BT, EE and Virgin Media each saw a 10% increase. Ofcom reckons some customers were able to save an average of £110 a year when taking out a new contract in response to one of these mandatory alerts.

“It’s encouraging to see more people saving money after we made it easier to grab a better deal,” said James Mackley, Ofcom’s Economics Director. “This is particularly important at a time when household budgets are under heavy strain, as the potential savings available can be significant. So it’s worth checking if you’re out of contract, and seeing what deals are available.”

Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at Uswitch said: “Life is challenging for consumers right now, so it’s important that the rules in place inform how to access the best deals on the market and keep household bills as low as possible. Millions of broadband customers have received an end-of-contract notification or out-of-contract reminder since the changes were introduced in 2020, and it’s great to see the average household is saving £110 by taking action after an alert is issued.”

Perhaps spurred by the cost of living crisis presently afflicting the UK, Ofcom isn’t shy about snapping at telcos who may not be complying with these new rules. This week it announced it has launched an investigation into Shell Energy, as it apparently has information that indicates its broadband wing didn’t send notifications to some customers for an undisclosed period of time beginning February 2021, and some communications ‘may not have contained all of the required information.’

 

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