Mobile and broadband providers to make it easier for users to cancel under new rules
Mobile and broadband customers should find it easier to cancel penalty-free if their provider makes detrimental mid-contract changes that were not agreed to when they first signed up to the plan.
Regulator Ofcom said telecoms providers must now allow customers to leave their contract if changes made mid-contract do not benefit them. For instance, if a provider increases paper billing or late payment fees, impacted customers must be notified a month in advance and offered the right to exit, penalty-free.
The change comes under new rules that took effect earlier this month (17 June), which are designed to help consumers make more informed choices about the deal that works best for them.
Contracts must now be shorter and simpler
Under the new rules, broadband and mobile customers must also now be given a short, one-page summary of the main terms before entering a contract, including clear examples of how any price increases will affect what they pay.
This includes firms explaining more clearly how inflation could affect the price they pay. So if, for example, the increase is based on an inflation-linked index - such as the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) or the Retail Prices Index (RPI) - providers should include an example of potential rises using the most recent figure.
Example wording suggested by Ofcom is as follows: "In April 2023 your price will increase by an amount equal to the RPI rate published in March of that year. Using May 2022’s RPI value of 7.8%, this would mean your monthly price of £40 would increase to £43.12 from April next year."
This summary must also include information about the speed of the service and length of the contract. Plus, it should set out the terms and conditions if you decide to end your contract early. If you have a disability, you'll be able to request this information in an accessible format.