Richard Neudegg, head of regulation at uSwitch.com, says: “At long last Ofcom is looking at bringing mobile and broadband providers in line with other industries by ensuring that consumers are told when their contracts are coming to an end.
“This comes not a moment too soon – uncertainty over contract dates is currently costing consumers £40 every second in overpayments.
“Ofcom needs to stick to its timetable. It is currently proposing to take ten weeks to consult before it goes through the process of making a final decision. Coupled with a likely implementation period of six months, we could be waiting at least a year before we see any changes – and all this time consumers in expired contracts will be continuing to throw their money down the drain.
“This consultation is just the first step and inevitably the devil will be in the detail. Notifications need to show consumers exactly what their package is and how much it has cost them, as well as clarifying what the new price will be and when they are free to move to a better deal without penalty.
“Telecoms providers have avoided giving out this information for years. The proposal for a one-off notification to customers who are currently out of contract is especially important to redress this gap. Ofcom needs to make sure that there are no loopholes in its proposals, to ensure they are as helpful to these consumers as possible, and do not allow important details to be hidden in the small print.
“As industry, government and regulators focus on upgrading communication networks to make mobile and broadband services faster and more reliable, notifications also represent a great opportunity to alert consumers to the faster and more reliable services now available.”
uSwitch’s Connectivity without Complexity campaign has been looking at these key issues and exploring their impact on consumers. We believe it’s time the industry gave the facts – being open and upfront with the information that matters, removed the needless hoops that consumers are made to jump through and worked to ensure the road to faster, more reliable connectivity is a journey for all. To find out more, visit www.uswitch.com/connectivity.