UK telecommunications regulator, Ofcom has sealed a victory for mobile customers regarding contracts and price hikes. The new guidelines, which take effect from tomorrow, will enable customers (consumers and small businesses) who take out new landline, broadband or mobile contracts to terminate immediately without penalty, should the service provider increase the monthly subscription fee.
This move follows an Ofcom review into the fairness of contract price terms, which found that many consumers were caught off-guard by price hikes mid-contract when they were under the impression their subscription was locked at a fixed price. Ofcom states that should a provider wish to increase the monthly subscription fee agreed by the customer at the point of sale, they should be provide at least one month's notice, with the ability for the customer to cancel the contract without penalty.
Not only will customers be protected against sudden price increases, but Ofcom's new guidelines detail that any alterations made to "contract terms, pricing or others, must be communicated clearly and transparently." The industry regulator will monitor providers to see how they implement and adhere to said guidelines. Claudio Pollack, Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director commented on today's announcement:
"We have reached an important milestone in our work to ensure consumers and small businesses have better protection against unexpected price increases. Additionally, our new guide highlights important factors customers might want to consider before entering into a new contract to help them understand exactly what they are signing up to."
Should you wish to find out more information on these changes and added protection, Ofcom has also published advice and information on the factors you may wish to consider before signing up to a new landline, broadband or mobile contract -- particularly useful if you're unsure what this all means. Check out resources available over on the Ofcom website.
This is yet another step in the right direction with it being little under a year ago when Ofcom began tackling free UK numbers.
Have you been affected by unexpected price hikes in the past?