A campaign for broadband providers to clarify contract end dates has been launched today, amid findings revealing that consumers are crying out for better access to crucial contact information.
Launched by uSwitch, the campaign is lobbying telecoms regulator Ofcom to do more to enforce its stated aim of forcing broadband providers to be more upfront with customers and give them the information they need to make smarter switching decisions.
The campaign’s origin lies in uSwitch research, which found that 80 per cent of broadband customers want information about when their contract ends to be communicated more clearly.
Of these, 32 per cent would like a letter to remind them of their end date a month beforehand. Meanwhile, 30 per cent want a reminder email and 14 per cent want the information prominently displayed on their online account.
The scale of the problem was laid bare by separate findings showing that 46 per cent of people who are in a broadband contact do not know when it ends. The result is that millions of people are missing out on substantial savings on offer if they switched provider.
The campaign, which is being backed by an online petition, urges Ofcom to insist that all three mooted measures supported by customers (email and letter reminders and end dates displayed on online accounts) are adopted by broadband providers across the board.
Marie-Louise Abretti, broadband expert at uSwitch.com, says: "We urge Ofcom to drag broadband providers in line with energy suppliers and help consumers to feel empowered when it comes to their own bills.
“Reminder letters and emails and showing the information online would help arm them with the facts they need to get a better deal - as soon as they can.
“Apathy is huge in the broadband sector, even though there are big savings to be made - of around £120 a year - by switching once you’re out of contract. But many fall at the first hurdle - they don’t even know when they can leave their provider.
“Although most mobile networks call you about an upgrade, effectively telling you your contract is about to expire, it’s a lot harder to get this information about your broadband and home phone. Having to call or email may be a step too far for some - especially those already worried about the ‘hassle’ of switching.”
Would you like your broadband provider to be more transparent about contract end dates? Show your support and sign the petition here: ‘I want to be told when my broadband contract ends'