Broadband, phone and pay-TV operators will have to tell their customers when their contract is nearly up and when they have a better deal available for them, under new rules.
The Ofcom ruling –due to come into force in February 2020– means the days of being put onto higher tariffs or having to shop around for new deals are almost over.
What will the notification say?
Once the new ruling comes in, between 10 and 40 days before your TV, broadband or phone contract is due to come to an end, you should get a letter in the post or a text or email from your provider alerting you to this.
This letter will state when the contract ends; the price paid before this date; any changes to the service; the price paid at the end of the contract; information about any notice period required to end the contract; and the best deals offered by your provider. It will also include information on what prices are available to new customers.
Part of Ofcom’s Fairness for customers programme, this new ruling should give you time to move over to your existing company’s preferential deal, stick with what you have, if it’s the best offering, or to shop around for a better deal elsewhere. Those who choose to remain with their provider without signing up to a new contract will also be sent annual reminders about their firm’s best deals.
Considering that 14% of customers have no idea whether they are still tied to a contract or not and 12% are under the impression that they are still within contract, but have no idea when their contract ends, this ruling could save a lot of people a lot of money.
Save money now
To potentially save money before the ruling comes in, spend five minutes checking whether you are in or out of contract now. You could be one of over 20 million TV and phone customers that Ofcom claims have now gone beyond their initial contract period and it’s suspected that a large chunk of these are paying more than they need to as a result.
Of those who unwittingly roll over their contracts, often on to a higher rate, it’s those who bundle services that get stung the most, says Ofcom. People who bundle landline and broadband together pay 20% more on average once they are out of contract and those that get landline, broadband and pay-TV in one package pay 26% more on average.