Ofcom has revealed that mobile networks must send customers end–of–contract alerts, telling users when their deal is up and about the best alternative deals they are currently offering.
Ofcom says customers must be contacted between 10 and 40 days before the end of their contract via text, email or letter. This must include information on the price paid before the end date, any changes to the service and price after the contract expires, details on any notice period for cancelling the contract and the best deals they have at that particular moment.
The regulator says that information about alternative deals must include telling loyal customers about any perks or cheaper packages being offered to new users.
Those who choose to stay with their provider must be sent the same information every year.
Ofcom has said that networks must start sending out alerts by 15 February 2020, giving them nine months to change their systems and get the required services in place.
How to switch mobile provider
“We’re making sure customers are treated fairly, by making companies give them the information they need, when they need it,” said Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director.
“This will put power in the hands of millions of people who’re paying more than necessary when they’re no longer tied to a contract.”
However, Citizens’ Advice believes the changes do not go far enough. It says that networks should be forced to say how many customers are out of contract and reveal how much more they are paying compared with in contract users.
Ofcom research has shown 14% of consumers don’t know if they’re still within their contract period and could consequently be paying over the odds for services.
The move comes as Ofcom gears up for major changes to how consumers switch mobile providers. From 1 July, consumers will be able to change networks by sending a text message to their current carrier asking for a switching code. Networks are also being banned from making extra notice period charges.