Stamping out unfair practices in telecoms and TV
Ofcom has published new guidelines for telecoms and TV companies to ensure they treat customers fairly.
In a bid to stamp out unfair practices and confusion, Ofcom’s Fairness Framework will support companies in their work to improve customer service and make fairness a core part of their business.
Stopping harmful practices
The new Fairness Framework highlights the type of business practices Ofcom is most likely to step in and take regulatory action. An example is companies blocking a transfer of services to a new provider, or taking advantage of vulnerable people on tariffs and pricing.
The Framework also sets out the kinds of issues Ofcom will examine when they assess if a company is treating their customers fairly. These include considering how important the service is to the customer, the potential harm that can be done, and the type of customer affected.
Ensuring Fairness for Customers
The framework is the latest step in Ofcom’s Fairness for Customers programme, which recently saw all of the UK’s biggest providers make a landmark commitment to put fairness first and ensure their customers get a fair deal.
Ofcom has today published an update to this work. Progress so far includes:
- Launching a review to ensure clearer, fairer deals for people who pay for mobile services and handsets together
- Reviewing broadband pricingpractices, examining why some people pay more than others – particularly those in vulnerable circumstances.
- A new compensation scheme to provide money backfor broadband and landline customers when things go wrong;
- Clear, honest informationfor broadband shoppers – before they commit to a contract – about what speeds they will get;
- Requiring companies to inform customerswhen their initial contract is up, and explain their best available deal;
- Allowing mobile phone customers to switch provider with a text messagefrom 1 July.
Sharon White, Ofcom Chief Executive, said:
Our fairness programme is delivering real benefits for customers – putting money in their pockets and helping more people get fairer deals. Everyone should expect to be treated fairly from their provider, but that hasn’t always happened in the past. There is now a real chance to change that.
It’s vital we don’t chase the wrong solution to complex problems, which would see many customers worse off. So government, regulators and consumer bodies must all work together to ensure customers get a fair deal.