From today, all mobile networks are required by law to send out end of contract notifications when their customers’ mobile contracts are coming to an end.
This has been put in place by OFCOM in a bid to end to the so-called ‘loyalty penalty’, which sees customers unwittingly continuing to pay the high price of their original contract - often set to pay off the cost of a smartphone - even though the contract has come to an end and the phone has been paid off.
Want to read more about ECN in depth? Here's our everything you need to know about end of contract notifications guide.
A lack of contract awareness can lead to customers paying hundreds of pounds more than they have to, with networks happy to remain silent and reap in the extra money. Of course, once your contract is over you’re also able to switch networks altogether if you find a better deal.
When you’re approaching the end of your contract, your network is now required to send you an end of contract notification via text, email, or letter. You’ll receive this between 10-40 days before the end of your contract, and it will contain the following information:
- Your contract’s end date
- The price you’re currently paying
- The price you’ll pay when your contract is over
- Information on new deals your provider can offer
With this info at hand, customers can now make an informed decision as to whether they should stick with their current provider, or seek out a new deal elsewhere.
Uswitch has long campaigned for OFCOM to introduce end of contract notifications. And seeing them finally enforced onto the networks is a landmark for consumer fairness. Pushing a campaign for awareness for ECN, OFCOM is asking consumers "are you in or out?".
Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director, said: “Millions of people are out of contract right now and paying more than they need to. These new rules make it easier to grab a better deal.”
Here at Uswitch we encourage consumers to seek out their contract info before they receive an ECN, and always stay aware of their options.
Richard Neudegg, head of regulation at Uswitch.com, 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.
"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."
“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.”
Want to switch networks for a better mobiles deal? Here are all our best mobile phone deals.
Rather have the freedom of a SIM-only deal? Take a look at all our best SIM-only deals.