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Probe into phone and broadband company charges

Extra fees should be fair and transparent

An investigation into extra fees charged by phone and broadband firms has been launched.

Ofcom’s review follows complaints from customers who were stung for late payments or for ending their contracts early.

Additional charges to non-direct debit customers and those whose service was returned after being restricted or suspended will also be looked into.

Ofcom’s inquiry covers additional fees charged by home phone, mobile, broadband and pay TV firms.

The communications regulator will look at customers’ awareness of the extra fees and their attitudes to them.

Fair and transparent

It will review whether the charges are fair and transparent.

Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said: ‘Consumers of communications services see headline prices fall. But they must not be misled.

‘As they make their choice of provider, they need confidence that any additional charges are fair, transparent and justified.’

The review covers additional charges over and above those which customers already pay for their service.

Ofcom will assess whether the fee amounts, and the way customers are kept informed about them, are fair.

The regulator will report back with its findings in the autumn.

Which? senior researcher Ceri Stanaway said: ‘Sometimes it can be very hard for consumers to find out about hidden costs when they take out a service, which makes it difficult for them to compare on a like for like basis. Which? supports any review which would ensure extra charges for telecoms services are fair and made clear up front.’

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