Broadband, phone and pay television providers will have to notify customers when their contracts are coming to an end under plans by Ofcom to prevent overpayments.
Providers will be required to inform customers of their best alternative deals under the regulator’s new rules.
Ofcom estimates that more than 20 million have continued with subscriptions beyond their minimum lifespan.
People who bundle their landline and broadband services together pay, on average, around 20 percent more when they are out of contract, Ofcom said. That rises to 26 percent among customers who bundle their pay-TV with these two services.
Around one in seven customers (14 percent) don’t know whether they are still tied to their original deal; and around one in eight (12 percent) believe they are still in contract, but don’t know when that contract ends.
Affected providers have nine months to update their systems and must start sending out the notifications from 15 February 2020.
They will be required to notify their customers by letter, text, email between 10 and 40 days before the end of their contract.
People who choose to stay with their provider without signing up to a new contract will be sent a reminder every year about their firm’s best deals.
Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s consumer group director, said: “We’re making sure customers are treated fairly, by making companies give them the information they need, when they need it.
“This will put power in the hands of millions of people who’re paying more than necessary when they’re no longer tied to a contract.”