Teaser rate level playing field between broadband and energy providers urged

 
Oliver Gill
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Energy providers must tell customers that their initial contract is coming to an end (Source: Getty)

Internet firms should be forced to tell customers when initial teaser rates are coming to an end, the UK telecoms regulator has been urged.

Broadband providers are "lagging behind" other markets such as the energy sector, according to challenger firm First Utility.

Currently, there is no regulation stipulating broadband providers alert customers that their contract is coming to an end. This compares with UK energy providers, which must tell customers 49 days before the end of a fixed contract.

Broadband prices spike by an average of 37 per cent when initial contracts end, according to watchdogs.

Telecoms regulator Ofcom is already consulting on whether internet providers should be forced to help customers avoid paying for heightened out of contract prices.

Read more: Revealed: The UK's broadband is ranked below Estonia, Latvia and Spain

“The parallels between the energy and telecoms markets are striking, with large swathes of households paying far too much for both services," said First Utility commercial head Ed Kamm.

Broadband is lagging behind many sectors and proving to be among the worst industries for customer communication. It’s about time it caught up and formalised the process of communicating out-of-contract plans with customers.

Consumer champion and former BBC "Dragon" Sarah Willingham added: "Reminding customers that their contract is coming to an end shouldn’t be too much effort for providers and can help many people save hundreds of pounds."

The calls come after Ofcom revealed plans earlier this year to force mobile firms to make it quick, easier and cheaper to move contracts, once customers are outside their fixed term. A scheme called "auto-switch" will allow customers to move contracts by simply texting their provider.

Read more: Broadband A-Team assembled to create "step change" in Britain's internet

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