Ofcom: Users can switch telecom providers without incurring penalty

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Ofcom has issued a guidance under which users will be allowed to change their telecom providers who raise their prices unexpectedly without incurring any penalty.

According to the new guidance, which is aimed at securing “fairness for consumers and small business customers in respect of price rises to the core subscription price”, providers will be required to give a 30 days’ notice to its customers prior to any sort of price change. If during this 30 day period, a customer decides to switch to a new provider, they will not incur any penalty.

Customers who take out landline, mobile and broadband contracts are under the purview of this guidance. If Pay TV is bundled along with any of the above three services, it too will be part of package; however, if customers have taken out a Pay TV contract on its own, it won’t be covered.

The guidance also protects consumers who are affected by reduction in free bundled minutes or data allowance under a certain plan. They too have 30 days to switch their provider.

Telecom providers will still be able to increase prices or change their package offerings mid-way through a customer’s contract, but Ofcom’s guidance ensures customers have an option to jump ship without having to pay a price.

Ofcom has also made available a checklist using which consumers can verify if their new telecom provider is providing them all necessary information prior to them signing the contract. The checklist can be downloaded here.