MILLIONS of broadband, pay-TV, mobile phone and landline customers must be told when their contracts are about to end to stop them being ripped off, a watchdog has ruled.
The telecoms regulator Ofcom said the move could see up to 20 million loyal customers benefit by switching provider or agreeing a new deal with their existing one.
Getty – Contributor Service providers will soon be required to notify customers before their contracts expire
Service providers will need to text, email or send a letter to their consumers between 10 to 40 days before their contracts come to an end.
Ofcom said people who bundle their landline and broadband services together pay on average around 20 per cent more when they are out of contract.
This rises to 26 per cent among customers who bundle in their pay-TV services.
And around one in seven customers do not know whether they are still tied to the original deal.
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Ofcom’s consumer group director Lindsey Fussell said: “We’re making sure customers are treated fairly, by making companies give them the information they need, when they need it.
“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.”
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Relevant companies have nine months to update their systems and must start sending out the notifications from 15 February 2020.
Holly Niblett, head of digital at comparethemarket.com said:“This is a milestone in consumer telecoms and a significant moment for some UK households. The practice of rolling people onto uncompetitive end-of-contract packages without telling them is inexcusable and has gone on for far too long.
“We all lead busy lives and it is easy to forget the exact date your mobile, broadband, TV packages, or landline contract expires. Companies have been exploiting this forgetfulness for years, enticing people with great deals and then rolling them on to rip off packages upon the deal’s expiration.”