Ofcom pledges to stamp out unfair mobile, broadband and TV practices

Telecoms watchdog Ofcom has launched a new set of guidelines for broadband, phone and TV companies as it pledges to stamp out unfair practices in the industry.

Ofcom has said its new Fairness Framework will provide firms with new guidelines over which industry practices are deemed unfair.

The guidelines are the latest step in a campaign by the regulator to protect customers, which has also seen it announce a review into mobile phone contracts.

Ofcom has said it is looking to clamp down on unclear practices by mobile phone companies, which could lead to customers paying more than necessary for phone contracts and handsets.

It has also launched a review into broadband prices to see if customers on long-term contracts are therefore paying more for than new customers for their deal.

The regulator said that its initial analysis shows that around 40% of long-term customers have managed to secure new, improved terms with their provider.

Ofcom says the largest reason that customers pay over the odds is confusion over the options they have available.

It has announced that it will now require broadband, landline, mobile and pay TV companies to contact their customers when their initial contract is up, explaining the best available options.

Sharon White, the Ofcom chief executive who is leaving the regulator to become chairman at John Lewis later this year, said the guidelines have been introduced to hold telecoms companies more accountable to their customers.

She 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. Government, regulators and consumer bodies must all work together to ensure customers get a fair deal.”