From 17 June 2022, telecoms customers must be provided with clearer and simpler information before they sign up to a new deal.(1)
Under Ofcom's General Conditions of Entitlement, customers must now be provided with a short, one-page summary of the main contract terms before entering a contract, including clear examples of how any price increases will affect the price they pay. Ofcom says that this is designed to help people avoid being caught out by surprise price rises, at a time when household budgets are under heavy strain.
The summary must include key information about the speed of the service, price, and length of the contract. It also requires firms to set out the terms and conditions if a customer decides to end their contract early.
Customers with disabilities can also request to receive the documents in an accessible format.
Some providers offer deals that include a price rise linked to inflation that takes effect during the contract. From 17 June 2022, when customers take out a new contract, providers that use this calculation are required to provide a straightforward example to a customer of how this is likely to affect the price they will pay in pounds and pence. If the increase uses an inflation index such as the consumer price index or the retail price index, then providers should use the most recent figure for the example.
Ofcom has also made it easier for customers to exit their contract if a provider makes any changes to their terms that were not agreed to when they signed up and are not expressly to the benefit of the customer. For instance, if a provider increases the charge for paper billing, those customers who use that service would need to be notified a month in advance about the change and offered the right to exit, penalty free. In addition, providers will need to notify all customers of an increase in their late payment charge on the same basis.
For further information on this topic please contact Victoria Harris-Honrado at Wiggin by telephone (+44 20 7612 9612) or email ([email protected]). The Wiggin website can be accessed at www.wiggin.co.uk.
(1) To read Ofcom's announcement in full, click here.