Do you know when your broadband contract ends? Most of us will have a vague idea, but without making a note of it in your calendar your contract end date will probably pass you by. Unfortunately, the end of your broadband contract typically means you’ll be facing a significant jump in your monthly bill.
For years, it’s been a pretty standard practice for providers to entice new customers with low prices, that tend to only last 12-18 months, with the hopes they won’t notice when their contracts end and their prices increase.
All that comes to an end tomorrow with the introduction of mandatory end-of-contract notifications. As of 15th February, all telecoms providers –– so your broadband and your mobile supplier –– are required to notify their customers when their contracts are due to end.
This will come in the form of a letter, email or text message –– however your provider normally communicates with you –– 10 to 40 days before the end of your contract. They will need to remind you of your contract end date, the price you’re paying now, and the price you will be paying after the contract ends.
It’s a chance for providers to tempt you to stay with them by offering you their best deals available. However, as we tend to see the best deals reserved only for new customers, it also makes it the ideal time to look for a new deal and switch to a new broadband deal.
For more information about what they could mean for you, check out our in-depth end of contract notifications guide.
Research from industry-regulators Ofcom has shown that more than 20 million customers are out of their initial contract period. This means that it’s highly likely that you’re already paying more for your broadband than you should.
Richard Neudegg, Head of Regulation at Uswitch.com, has worked closely with Ofcom for years to get this requirement in place. He says:
“For years, providers have profited from not always being entirely transparent about the status of their contracts.
“The introduction of end-of-contract notifications and annual out-of-contract reminders should finally put an end to this murky practice and help consumers know the best time to consider their options.
“Our figures suggest mobile and broadband consumers could be £1 billion a year better off if they take the opportunity to move to a better value deal.
“Uswitch has spent years campaigning for these measures, which we hope will give a much needed shake-up to the industry and put more power in consumers’ hands to get off packages that are no longer good enough.
“From Saturday, if your broadband, mobile phone or pay TV deal is due to come to an end you will receive a letter, email or text from your provider informing you between 10 and 40 days before the contract ends.
“This notification will inform you of the cheapest deals your provider can switch you to, should you decide to remain with them. Either way, when you get this notice, it’s time to take action.
“The communication must also include details of your current provider’s cheapest deal available, although as an existing customer you won’t necessarily be able to switch to it.
“When you receive this information, it is worth remembering that you don’t have to accept the deal on offer as it may not be the best option for you in the market.
“To ensure you are getting the best possible deal for your needs and, armed with details of how much you are going to be paying, it is a good idea to run a quick comparison to see what other providers are currently offering.
“It’s not just about price, though — if you’re on an outdated connection, switching provider is also a great opportunity to move to a faster service.
“If your deal expired before 15 February, providers will have to send you an annual letter reminding you that you are out of contract, and the first letter has to be sent within a year of these guidelines coming into place.
“Don’t wait for a letter to drop through your front door if you know you are out of contract. Get online now and start researching what deals are available, even if they are with your current provider.”
Thinking of switching your broadband provider? Take a look at our new, beta-stage Network Checker.