Feeds

Ofcom probe into telcos jacking-up charges halfway through contracts

You only thought you had a good deal

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Mid-contract price rises implemented by telcos are currently being scrutinised by Blighty's communications regulator Ofcom, after it found a number of problems with customer subscriptions to landline, broadband and mobile services.

The watchdog said it was looking at ways to better protect punters from prices being jacked up halfway through their contracts with ISPs and mobile providers.

Ofcom said it planned to publish results of its consultation by the end of this year.

It is currently mulling over whether it is fair for price variation terms to be included in fixed-term contracts. Among other things, Ofcom will examine exactly how upfront providers are about the services they are offering when it comes to hiking prices midway through a contract.

The regulator said it had studied 1,644 complaints from customers about Ts&Cs changes during September 2011 to May 2012. It has also perused evidence from consumer protection magazine Which?. It concluded from those findings that:

Our analysis shows that many consumers complained they were not made aware of the potential for price rises in what they believed to be fixed contracts. Some consumers felt that communications providers should not be able to impose price increases during the life of a contract, and, if they do, the consumer should be able to exit the contract without penalty. Others complained specifically about the amount of the price increase and how it would impact them.

Ofcom agreed that customers should be "treated fairly" regarding such contracts and said it was consulting "on ways to address consumer concerns".

As it stands, Ofcom's rules state that mobile, phone and broadband providers have to give their customers a minimum of one month's notice regarding any major change to contractual terms. Subscribers can then cut loose from the contract without being stung with a penalty for walking away early. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
FCC, Google cast eye over millimetre wireless
The smaller the wave, the bigger 5G's chances of success
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.