Ofcom rules on Best Deal notifications for customers
Ofcom’s latest ruling is bringing sweeping changes across the telecoms world. It is mandating that broadband and mobile providers send consumers notifications in advance of their contracts ending. The notifications must signpost the best deals available, which could save consumers like you vast sums of money.
New Ofcom regulation on contracts to benefit consumers
This new Ofcom regulation means that providers must forewarn customers when their contract is up and what the best deals available are. This applies to all phone, broadband and pay-TV contracts as of the 15th of February 2020. This is an absolute game-changer for the industry.
What does this new mobile and broadband regulation mean for consumers?
This new regulation is a big deal for consumers because too many are unaware when their contract is up and are paying more than they need. According to Ofcom, 16% of broadband customers don’t know if they are currently in-contract or not.
By switching provider or even between deals within your current network there are great savings to be had. Most consumers simply aren’t aware that once their contract is up the prices will usually also go up. When your contract ends, you are not locked in anymore and it is time to shop around and make sure you are getting the best deal.
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. Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director
How this ruling impacts out-of-contract broadband customers
Did you know there are 20 million customers out of contract in the UK? Could you be one of them and not even realise it? Of this figure, 8.8 million of those are out-of-contract broadband customers.
Out-of-contract broadband customers could save an average of £100 a year and out-of-contract mobile customers could save an average of £150 a year.
It’s not just financial savings that consumers could realise. Ofcom research shows that three million broadband customers could upgrade plans and benefit from higher-speeds for less money than they’re paying now.
Clear information and notifications coming your way
As we mentioned, the new telecoms regulation forces broadband and mobile providers to send notifications to consumers when their contract is coming to an end.
Ofcom stipulates that notifications must provide clear information about end-of-contract dates and the best deals available. To be precise, providers must give customers 10-40 days’ notice of when their contract is coming to an end.
This is plenty of time for consumers to consider whether they want to switch deal or provider. The communication can be sent via text, email or letter but there are specific guidelines about the notifications presenting clear information.
Here’s what you can expect to see in these end-of-contract notifications:
- Your end-of-contract date.
- How much you have been paying on your current tariff and what this will increase to when your contract has ended.
- Your current provider’s best deals, including those tariffs only available to new customers.
- If there is a notice period for leaving your provider.
Even customers who were out of contract before the new rules applied will receive a notification. This means anyone whose contract has ended will finally be aware and have the chance to switch.
How can you find the best broadband and mobile deals?
Don’t wait for your existing mobile and broadband providers to contacts you. Start shopping around to see what great deals are on the market. It is such a fast-paced industry that there are new providers and new deals appearing all the time.
If you have been locked into a contract for 12 or even 24 months, things will have moved on. However, if you still have months remaining on your contract, you will be charged a cancellation penalty and it may be worth waiting to switch.
However, have an idea of what you want well in advance and don’t just jump on the first deal your provider throws at you. After all, they have to send you their best deals with the notification, so it’s always going to be better than your current one. There may be even better out there though.
If you are happy with your provider and convinced that you don’t want to switch, that’s fine too. At least compare the other deals they are offering before your contract ends so that you have a better understanding of what broadband and mobile pricing to expect when you do choose to switch.
Additional Ofcom rules you should know about
This new Ofcom rule is actually part of its ongoing Fairness for Customers programme. The main goal is to make sure customers are being treated fairly by providers.
Regulation is an essential part of every industry and sector. Often it flies under the radar but the large-scale changes to rules in telecoms are making it more visible.
In case you missed it, here are two major reforms that were introduced by Ofcom last year:
- If customers notice that their broadband speeds are below the level promised, they can cancel their contract without any penalty.
- Mobile customers can switch providers by sending a free text message.
What’s next? Ofcom is dedicated to monitoring customers’ experiences. The organisation will continue to review the market and introduce new regulations if and when necessary. We will provide an update when there are any further changes. In the meantime, happy deal hunting.