Broadband and TV customers must be alerted when contracts are ending

16 May 2019   By Dr Lucy Brown, Editor

New rules introduced by Ofcom mean providers must alert broadband, phone and pay TV customers when their contracts are coming to an end.

Ofcom estimate over 20 million customers may be paying more than they need to, having exceeded their initial contract period.

Providers are now required to notify customers between 10 and 40 days prior to the end of their contract via text, email or letter.

This is the latest in a raft of reforms from Ofcom aimed at ensuring customers get a fair deal from their providers.

Credit: Florin Burlan/

Alerts for customers

Under these new rules, providers will be compelled to alert customers to the following: the contract end date, the price paid currently, any changes to the service and price which apply after the contract end date and information about any notice period required before termination.

Customers must also be informed of the best deals the provider offers, including those available to new customers.

If customers opt to stay with providers beyond their contract end date and don't sign up to a new contract, they'll be sent a reminder each year about their providers best deals.

These changes won't happen straight away. Companies are allowed nine months to put these systems in place, so customers won't start receiving end of contract notifications until February 2020.

Why have Ofcom stepped in?

Ofcom's research found that customers who combine landline and broadband services pay an average of 20% more when their fixed period ends and they're out of contract.

For customers who take landline, broadband and TV services from the same provider, this is as high as 26%.

They also discovered that 14% don't know whether they're still locked into a deal and 12% believe they are but don't know when their fixed term period ends.

In May 2018, their annual report into pricing trends confirmed four million households were overpaying for their home broadband, especially those who were out of contract.

This latest change is part of Ofcom's ongoing campaign to ensure fairness for customers in the industries they regulate.

For instance, in April they launched a voluntary automatic compensation scheme for broadband customers who experience delays in repairs and installations.

This followed research suggesting 7.2m customers were impacted by loss of broadband or landline services, missed engineer appointments or delayed installations each year.

Figures released in January demonstrate that fewer customers are switching away from their existing broadband provider, and Ofcom are hoping that providing more information about price hikes post-contract will encourage customers to shop around for the best deals.

Other sectors battling similar problems

A review undertaken by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in 2018 estimated that customers had lost £3.9bn by loyally staying with companies.

Their review covered broadband, mobile contracts, savings, mortgages and home insurance, although they acknowledged other sectors have similar issues.

Recommendations included the possibility that companies are publicly held to account by the yearly publication of the financial penalties that customers face by staying loyal to providers.

Choose regularly publish and update guides which can help customers decide which broadband deals and providers are the most useful for them.

Take a look at our guide on broadband customer service or our guide to the UK's fastest broadband provider.

Customers can also use our free comparison tool to check which deals are currently available.

Comments (1)

22 November 2021

10 days isn't enough notice. it can take 10 days for your new supplier to do a switch leaving you with very little time to search the market before you get whacked with a new increased bill, in this case zero days which isn't practical for people. 30 days should be the minimum as suppliers will just take advantage of the minium and not stick to the spirit of the rules and screw people out of a months increased bill.

Which broadband deals are available in your area?

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