Media and telecoms regulator Ofcom is to consult on giving how consumers better protection against unexpected price rises within fixed-term landline, broadband and mobile phone contracts.
Ofcom says a review carried out earlier this year “into the fairness of certain contract terms has identified a number of issues” with current rules and flagged up the potential for consumer harm.
More than 1,600 complaints about changes to terms and conditions were examined and considered alongside further evidence from Which? In many cases consumers complained they were not made aware of the potential for price rises in supposedly fixed contracts.
Complainants suggested suppliers should not be able to impose price increases during the life of a contract, or where they did that customers should be able to exit the contract without penalty.
The consultation, which Ofcom says will be published by the end of this year, will consider whether price variation terms in fixed-term contracts are appropriate.
It will also look at related issues including the transparency of price variation terms, and the information provided to consumers at the point of sale.
Claudio Pollack, Consumer Group Director, said: “Ofcom understands the frustration that consumers feel when faced with price rises in what they assume to be a fixed contract with a fixed price.
“Having considered the large number of consumer complaints, we will soon consult on ways to address consumer concerns and ensure they are being treated fairly in this area.”