Fairer prices for broadband customers and a proposed guide for telecoms providers on treating their vulnerable customers fairly

25 September 2019

Fairer deals for consumers buying broadband

The Panel influences Ofcom's policy early on in its development and meets regularly with telecoms providers. So we're pleased that Ofcom has today been able to announce commitments by BT, Sky, Talk Talk, Virgin Media, EE and Plusnet, to fairer pricing for consumers buying broadband.

Most of the commitments take effect by March 2020. A summary by Ofcom is below:

  • BT, Sky and TalkTalk will allow out-of-contract customers to get the same deals as new customers, when they take out a new contract. (BT will only allow existing customers to access new customer prices when sending end-of-contract and best tariff notifications.)
  • The difference that any of Sky's newly contracted customers will pay when their contract ends is no more than £5 per month.
  • From February, BT will cap the difference that existing in-contract customers pay when their contracts expire – it will confirm the amount of this cap soon.
  • BT customers who can’t access superfast broadband will no longer pay more than entry-level superfast customers. And BT will provide a one-off automatic price reduction for vulnerable customers who are currently out of contract on more expensive deals.
  • TalkTalk and Virgin Media will carry out annual price reviews with their vulnerable customers to ensure they are on the best deal for their needs, providing automatic discounts where appropriate if customers do not respond.

    Details can be found here: Ofcom's statement on broadband pricing commitments

Consultation on Ofcom's proposed guide for providers on treating vulnerable consumers fairly

Ofcom has also published today a consultation on its proposed guide for telecoms providers on treating their vulnerable customers fairly. Receiving fair treatment by a provider is something that all consumers should be able to accept, but for people who find it difficult to engage in the market because of a life event, financial difficulties, communications needs or other reasons it is all the more important. The Panel recognises that any consumer can be vulnerable at any time. We believe that collaboration in understanding the range of needs of consumers and learning from other sectors is vital in making sure policies and practices in this sector are fair to all. 

The Panel's Industry Forum is a place where telecoms providers can meet and discuss ways they can best serve their vulnerable customers and learn from best practice in other sectors, facilitated by the Panel's Chair, Rick Hill MBE and Panel Member Kay Allen OBE.

We welcome a guide by the regulator, for industry and will respond to the consultation. We encourage other consumer bodies and third sector organisations to do the same.

Ofcom's consultation on its proposed guide for providers on treating their vulnerable customers fairly will close on 20 November. 


 

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