From today, customers with slow broadband speeds will be able to switch providers without being penalised.
It’s thanks to a new ruling courtesy of Ofcom, which says telecom companies will now have to release customers that aren’t happy with their service.
The process is described as being “swift and hassle-free”, and is open to anyone who suffers slow speeds or other problems with service.
This means that if you don’t get speeds you were promised, but you’re locked into a lengthy contract, you can now ditch your provider and move elsewhere.
Previously, many customers were forced to accept termination fees to cancel service, even if they weren’t happy.
“Our job is to ensure that markets work for consumers and citizens, principally by encouraging competition,” said Sharon White, Ofcom’s chief.
She continued: “Where markets don’t work well enough – or where competition alone isn’t enough to secure good outcomes for customers – then we have the power to intervene.”
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Ofcom plans to unveil further reforms to mobile phone contracts next month, which will make it even easier to switch.
According to the telecom watchdog, mobile companies will have to abolish hidden charges and penalties, and make it very quick to transfer numbers to new networks.
“Ofcom receives a large number of complaints about the difficulties experienced by consumers trying to exit their communications service contract,” explained Ofcom.
It added: “Taken together, these suggest that communications providers are systematically making it difficult for customers to exit their contract. We consider that this allegation is extremely serious, and, if sustained, may result in significant consumer harm within the market for UK communications goods and services.”
BT, EE, Sky, and TalkTalk are all affected by the new change, although Virgin Media is not included in the broadband reform.