Phone and internet users to get end-of-contract alerts

Phone and internet users to get end-of-contract alerts
Broadband, pay-TV, mobile phone and landline customers must be told when their contracts are about to end and be informed of their providers best alternative deals, under new rules.

It said more than 20 million people have stuck with subscriptions beyond their lock-in, often without realising.

And those that opt not to move to another package need to be reminded they can still do so on a yearly basis.

Relevant companies have nine months to update their systems and must start sending out the notifications from 15 February 2020.

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 saying:

Image caption Users will be able to choose how they should be contacted

"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," said Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom s consumer group director.

About 14% of customers do not know whether or not they are still tied to their current contracts, according to research commissioner by the regulator.

It added that customers can typically cut the cost of a bundle of the services involved by about 20% if they sign up to a new deal rather than remain on a contract beyond its minimum period,

However, some consumer rights organisations still have concerns the measures do not go far enough.

During the consultation, that it believed providers should be made to send out more than one notification to each customer and that the companies should also be made to disclose how many subscribers are out-of-contract and how much extra on average they are paying compared to in-contract users.

"Almost nine in 10 people think that charging loyal customers more is unfair, and we agree," Gillian Guy, Citizens Advice s chief executive said.
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