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Britain's biggest telecoms firms sign up to customer fairness commitment

The UK’s biggest broadband, phone and pay TV companies have committed to sign up to Ofcom’s Fairness for Customers charter.

Announcing the move, the regulator said it aims to help ensure people are always treated fairly by their provider, regardless of whether they are signing up to a new deal, trying to fix a problem or switching to a new company.

 

All of the UK’s biggest providers have signed-up, including: BT; EE; Giffgaff; O2; Plusnet; Post Office; Sky; TalkTalk; Tesco Mobile; Three; Virgin Media and Vodafone.

 

This covers the vast majority of broadband, mobile, pay TV and home phone customers.

 

Sharon White, Ofcom chief executive, said: “I welcome the commitments the providers have made, and the action they’re taking to ensure customers are treated fairly every step of the way.

 

“Great service cannot be optional. It has to be the norm. That hasn’t always happened in the past in broadband and mobile services, but there is now a growing belief from providers that putting customers first is paramount.”

The commitments in full are:

  • Customers get a fair deal which is right for their needs. Providers offer customers packages that fit their needs and have a fair approach to pricing. Prices are clear and easy to understand;
  • Customers get the support they need when their circumstances make them vulnerable. Providers understand and identify the characteristics, circumstances and needs of vulnerable customers - such as vulnerability due to a disability, age, mental illness or having recently been bereaved - and act to give them fair treatment and equal access to services too;
  • Customers are supported to make well-informed decisions with clear information about their options before, during, and at the end of their contract. Providers design and send communications in a way that reflects an understanding of how customers generally react to information so that they can understand and engage with the market;
  • Customers’ services work as promised, reliably over time. If things go wrong providers give a prompt response to fix problems and take appropriate action to help their customers, which may include providing compensation where relevant. If providers can’t fix problems with core services they have promised to deliver within a reasonable period, customers can walk away from their contract with no penalty;
  • Customers can sign up to, change and leave their services quickly and smoothly. Providers ensure that customers who are leaving do not face additional barriers or hassle compared to those who are signing up to new services;
  • Customers can be confident that fair treatment is a central part of their provider’s culture. Companies can demonstrate that they have the right procedures in place to ensure customers are treated well. They keep these effective and up-to-date.

Ofcom will publish a progress report next year, reviewing whether companies are delivering what they have promised, alongside its regular reporting on customer complaints and satisfaction.

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