Mobile phone, Broadband, Pay-Tv and Fixed-line telecom users will get informed when their subscriptions are going to expire and will get informed about the next best deal available for them, under the new regulations.
Communication’s watchdog of the UK, Ofcom and the British government wants to fix that the users who are loyal with the same operator or who fails to notice that their subscription has ended should not financially be penalized.
The ultimate aim of the watchdog regulator and the government is to protect users from overpaying. The watchdog regulator said that around 20 million users have stuck with subscriptions beyond their expiry and without realizing.
Companies falling under the new communication regulation still have around nine months to upgrade their system and start notifying from February 15, 2020.
From February 15, 2020, onwards, operators have to start sending text messages, emails or letters to their customers before 10 to 40 days of their subscription comes to an end. The text messages, emails or letter will inform, the date their subscription can be terminated without penalty, the amount they have been paying, any changes made to the price or services that automatically come into effect after date, how much time they need to provide to cancel the subscription and information regarding the best alternative available deal, including the amount charged to new users.
Consumer group director at Ofcom, Lindsey Fussell said, this will shift power in the hands of users, currently those who are paying more than required when they are no longer tied with a subscription. According to in-house research carried by the Ofcom, it exhibits that around 14 per cent of the users are not aware whether or not they are yet tied with their current subscriptions.
A trade association have raised concerns over the new regulations as many small broadband providers that have a niche in serving business customers might face cost headwinds and the complexity of adapting their systems to meet the new laws.
In the past several years, telecom companies are struggling on account of humongous competition and a regulatory crackdown on earlier profitable revenue pockets like roaming and international calls. Several large operators depend on price hike either in between the subscription or when a user's subscription ends.
The fixed-line telecommunications service provider BT group said that “We welcome the new regulations announced by the Ofcom as it’s imperative to users to be aware when their subscription ends and get informed about new best alternative deals when they are at their end of the subscription”. The group has not yet introduced the alert system for its broadband user base.
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