New offensive on mobile phone charges
Ofcom is particularly concerned that providers are or maybe are going to increase charges mid-contract for those using a mobile phone, landline phone and even broadband. This could be banned.
Ofcom has also decided to start investigating the contracts providers expect consumers to sign to ensure that consumers are fully aware of what they are signing. The organisation feels that many customers may not realise that a company could potentially change the terms of a contract. For example, mobile phone charges could be increased because a clause was in the small print but not fully understood by the customer.
Claudio Pollack, Ofcom’s consumer group director, said: “Ofcom understands the frustration that consumers feel when faced with price rises in what they assume to be a fixed contract with a fixed price.”
He added: “Having considered the large number of consumer complaints, we will soon consult on ways to address consumer concerns and ensure they are being treated fairly in this area.”
Mobile phone charging has been a contentious issue for many years, causing much consternation for both consumers and the regulator alike. Although charges have come down, including a cap on roaming in the EU, nevertheless it is still something that causes controversy. Ofcom believes, therefore, that customers’ interests should be put first.
Currently providers are expected to give a month’s notice of any changes in a contract, but Ofcom wants to give consumers the right to withdraw from any contract penalty-free.