New rules designed at making it easier for households to switch between phone and broadband providers have been published by Ofcom.
Last year the regulator announced launched a consultation on changes to the switching system after research revealed customers were encountering problems when changing provider.
According to Ofcom’s research, 46% of consumers with a landline/broadband bundle who considered switching, but eventually decided against it, said a lack of clarity about the switching process had put them off.
The new rules are designed to ensure customers have greater safeguards and could help increase competition by removing uncertainty.
Under the revised rules, the customer’s new provider will be solely responsible for managing the switching process, giving them a single point of contact in the event of problems.
The rules will also protect customers against being switched without their knowledge, a process known as ‘slamming’, with all providers required to a record of the customer’s consent to the switch.
Firms will also need to give customers better information on the implications of changing provider, such as early termination charges, so they can make informed decisions.
And providers will have to protect consumers against losing service when changing provider, particularly when switching both landline and broadband services.
Ofcom says it is consulting on the detail of the changes and expects the new rules to come into effect by 2015.