The days of overpaying a broadband, pay-tv or mobile provider when out of contract will soon be over, thanks to new rules being introduced by watchdog Ofcom.
From next year, providers will have to send out alerts to customers and also make them aware of alternative deals under the new rules to help prevent them continuing to pay beyond their contract lock-in date.
The watchdog first announced its plan to help people secure end-of-contract deals in July 2018.
Relevant companies have nine months to update their systems and must begin sending out the notifications from February 15, 2020.
Service providers will need to text, email or send a letter to their consumers between 10 to 40 days before their contracts come to an end.
These alerts must include:
- The contract end date.
- The price customers are currently paying and the price they will pay after their contract ends, as well as any changes to the service after this date.
- Information about notice periods if the customer wants to end their contract.
- The best deals offered by the provider, including prices available to new customers.
A spokesman for Ofcom said: “Our proposals will benefit consumers by protecting them against unexpected and unwelcome changes, such as higher prices, and ensuring that they get the right information at the right time, enabling them to make informed decisions and exercise choice.
“Our plans will also benefit consumers by increasing competition in the market, and reducing the time and effort required for consumers to monitor and seek out information
But Citizens Advice Burau think the new rules don’t not go far enough.
During the consultation, Citizens Advice had told Ofcom that it believed providers should be made to send out more than one notification to each customer.
“Almost nine in 10 people think that charging loyal customers more is unfair, and we agree,” said Gillian Guy, Citizens Advice’s chief executive.
“We look forward to hearing about the concrete actions Ofcom will take to end this systematic scam.”