Ofcom tackles mid-contract price rises


Ofcom is consulting on whether consumers should be allowed to exit contracts without penalty if prices are increased mid-way

Mobile customers may be able to exit their contract mid-way without penalty if their provider increases prices, under new proposals from Ofcom.

The telecoms regulator today launched a consultation on how to protect customers from price rises during fixed contracts for landline, broadband and mobile services. It follows a review into the fairness of contracts, which identified issues concerning existing rules.

Ofcom’s proposed change would still allow operators to increase prices during fixed-term contracts, but consumers would be free to leave if they didn’t accept the rise.

Other options mooted in the consultation include whether consumers should have to actively ‘opt-in’ to any variable price contract.

The regulator is also looking into the need for guidance on how providers should interpret its rules.

It rejected the idea of a complete ban on price rises in fixed contracts.

Ofcom’s consumer group director Claudio Pollack said: “Many consumers have complained to us that they are not made aware of the potential for price rises in what they believe to be fixed contracts.

“Ofcom is consulting on rules that we propose would give consumers a fair deal in relation to mid-contract price rises.”

The consultation closes on 14 March and Ofcom expects to publish a decision in June.