New rule changes coming into effect on February 15 will help those in the UK avoid high out-of-contract bills. From Saturday, phone, broadband, and pay-TV customers will be warned by their provider that their current contract is ending, and they will be offered a new contract to avoid out-of-contract bills that can be higher than previous in-contract bills.
According to the media regulator, Ofcom, 20 million people in the UK are already out of contract and 8.8 million of those are broadband customers. Research found that a huge 25,000 broadband customers reach the end of their contract each day. This change will help even the vigilant customers who know when their contract will end but get the switchover timing a bit off and get billed for the first out-of-contract month.
Under the new rules, customers will receive a notification from their provider between 10 and 40 days before the contract comes to an end. The alerts can be delivered via text, e-mail, or letter so be sure to keep your contact information up-to-date.
The alerts will contain information such as when your contract is ending, what you’ve been paying and what it will rise to, any notice period for leaving your provider, and details about the best deals offered by your provider including pricing only available to new customers. If you’re already out of contract, your provider is obligated to send you a reminder with the best deals every year so you can take action.
Richard Neudegg, head of regulation uSwitch - a popular comparison website, welcomed today's news:
"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.
“Our figures suggest mobile and broadband consumers could be £1 billion a year better off if they take the opportunity to move to a better value deal."
Ofcom has been busy making life easier for Brits in the last year or so. In December, it announced that switching broadband providers is set to get easier. In June 2019, it announced changes which force mobile providers to hand over your mobile PAC simply by texting ‘PAC’ to 65075; this makes moving to another mobile provider very easy.