Millions of Broadband Customers Overpaying By £251m Due To End of Contract Price Hikes
Tuesday, 23rd February 2021
Has your broadband provider been in touch recently? Do you remember receiving an email or letter from them saying your contract is about to expire? If so, chances are your prices have increased or they are about to!
In fact, a recent study conducted by uSwitch shows that almost 3 million customers are now overpaying for broadband even though they're eligible for a cheaper deal!
And these customers aren't just overpaying by a pound or two… they are collectively paying £251 million more a year than they should be! That’s an average of £90 per household.
Customers shouldn’t ignore end of contract notifications!
Ofcom, the UK’s communication regulator, introduced end of contact notifications (ECNs) as of February last year.
Before this, providers weren’t required to inform customers that they were coming to the end of their initial contract period or that they were being transferred to the provider’s standard rate – which is usually higher than the introductory offer.
According to uSwitch, eight million contracts have ended since February 2020 and therefore bill payers should have received an ECN. However, a third of the people surveyed said they never received one!
Broadband contracts could rise by up to 89%
Loyal customers usually aren’t rewarded by broadband providers. In fact, broadband providers take advantage of loyal customers who don’t want to switch by upping their rates once their contract has expired. Some bill-payers noticed their price rise by as much as 89%, according to data from Which?
Therefore, it’s really important that you pay attention to these end of contract notifications! They could be sent via text, email or post in the weeks prior to your contract ending – so be sure to look out for them!
If you do receive an ECN, we strongly recommend that you shop around for a new broadband deal. By switching to a new provider, you could reduce your bills by hundreds of pounds a year or even get a faster broadband package for the same price.
For those who think switching is too much hassle, it really isn’t as bad as you think! In fact, most broadband providers will handle the whole process for you, including speaking with your current provider!
What does uSwitch say about the price rises?
Richard Neudegg, head of regulation at Uswitch.com, says: “Life is challenging at the moment and with people juggling so many responsibilities, it’s important to make sure that consumers can access important information about their household bills easily.”
“Millions of broadband customers have received an end-of-contract notification or out-of-contract reminder in the last year, and it’s great to see that the vast majority have acted to get themselves a better deal.”
“However, the fact that a third of consumers whose contract was due to end say they didn’t, or couldn’t recall, receiving an end-of-contract notification should ring alarm bells.”
“More must be done to build on the success of these notifications so that all customers have a fair chance of engaging when their contract comes to an end.”
“Ofcom must act to make sure providers cannot deploy marketing and pricing tactics designed to fly the chance of better deals under the radar.”
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