Today we hosted the first public speech by Ofcom’s new Chief Executive Sharon White as she set out how she plans to make it easier for you to switch to a better deal and get the services you’ve been promised.
Under Ofcom’s new proposals, you’ll be able leave your broadband contracts without penalty if you don’t get what is promised, and providers will need to give better information on the broadband speeds you’ll realistically get.
We know unreliable broadband speeds drive you crazy, so it’s great see the regulator taking action.
Sharon was joined on the panel by Which? Executive Director Richard Lloyd, TalkTalk’s Chairman, Sir Charles Dunstone, and Openreach Chief Executive of Openreach, Joe Garner, before an audience of consumers, Which? supporters and industry people.
So, how else does Ofcom plan to improve things for you?
Simpler switching and better information
The panel was quizzed on issues including why you have to pay to unlock your mobile handset and what Ofcom is going to do about making bills clearer, so you know what you are paying for. Sharon White outlined four key ways the industry needs to improve:
- Easier switching: making it simpler to switch, including being able to cancel without unfair penalties and coordination between providers for a smooth transfer
- Better information: Making available clear and accurate information in advertising and at point of sale, so you can genuinely compare offers and make effective choices
- Improved contract terms: Clear and fair terms with no hidden charges or lock-ins
- Better complaints handling: Setting out simple steps when you wish to complain or when things go wrong. It means doing everything possible to avoid a dispute in the first place, including the chance for you to ‘walk away’ when services fall short. It also means clear signposting of alternative dispute resolution services – which are free to use.
So what’s our verdict?
We’ve been calling for changes to make it easier to switch telecoms providers, so we’re pleased to see it’s a priority for Ofcom. We also look forward to swift action to tackle other problems facing customers, including competition in the communications market.
We think this is an encouraging start by the new chief executive, particularly at a time when Ofcom faces big challenges.
We look forward to working with her to ensure consumers have more power to drive competition and growth among the best businesses, while protecting those who are vulnerable.
What do you think of the changes that Ofcom is planning?