Broadband, phone and pay TV firms must tell customers about their best deals

Date published: 17 May 2019


Broadband, phone and TV customers must be told when their contract is coming to an end, and shown the best deals available, under new rules announced on Wednesday (15 May) by Ofcom.

The broadcasting and media regulator says as many as 20 million customers could be paying more for their contracts than they need to.

People who bundle their landline and broadband services together pay, on average, around 20% more when they are ‘out of contract’. This rises to 26% among customers who bundle their pay TV with these two services.

Around one in seven customers (14%) don’t know whether they are still tied to their original deal; and around one in eight (12%) believe they are ‘in contract’, but don’t know when this period ends.

Telecoms and pay TV companies will now be forced to warn customers between 10 and 40 days before their contract comes to an end. These alerts will be sent by text, email or letter.

They will include:

  • the contract end date
  • the price paid before this date
  • any changes to the service and price paid at the end of this period
  • information about any notice period required to terminate the contract
  • the best deals offered by their provider, including telling loyal customers what prices are available to new customers

People who choose to stay with their provider without signing up to a new contract will be sent a reminder every year about their firm’s best deals.

Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director, said: “We’re making sure customers are treated fairly, by making companies give them the information they need, when they need it.

“This will put power in the hands of millions of people who’re paying more than necessary when they’re no longer tied to a contract.”

In response to the new regulations, Richard Tang, founder and chairman of Zen Internet, which is based in Rochdale, said: “Great customer service isn’t part of the DNA of all telecoms organisations, and for far too long some major providers have been getting away with unfair practices.

“From mid and end-of contract price hikes to less than satisfactory customer service, they have been putting short-term profit ahead of customer interests.

“That's why it's incredibly important that Ofcom continues to push best practices up the agenda in order to protect consumers and we welcome their latest announcement on end-of-contract notifications and annual best tariff information.

“At Zen we're continually striving to ensure that customer happiness comes first and recently announced a pledge to reward customer loyalty with our new lifetime price guarantee.”

Zen was recently named a Which? Recommended Provider for the fourth year in a row.

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