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All broadband & phone providers pledge to treat customers fairly

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Broadband and phone customers will be able to switch provider hassle free under a new ‘Fairness Code’, the regulator has announced.

All of the UK’s major broadband, phone and pay TV companies have signed up to Ofcom’s ‘Fairness for Customers’ commitments, which aims to treat all customers fairly– whether they are signing up to a new deal, trying to fix a problem or switching to a new company.

Sharon White, Ofcom chief executive, said: “I welcome the commitments the providers have made, and the action they’re taking to ensure customers are treated fairly every step of the way.

“Great service cannot be optional. It has to be the norm. That hasn’t always happened in the past in broadband and mobile services, but there is now a growing belief from providers that putting customers first is paramount.”

The industry has also agreed to make prices clear and easy to understand, and give a prompt response to fix problems when things go wrong.

Richard Neudegg, head of regulation at comparison site uSwitch, said: “It is welcome news that Ofcom has managed to convince providers to sign up to this principle – although somewhat disappointing to do it on a voluntary basis rather than adding it to directly and firmly into industry regulations.

“These commitments could be helpful in balancing telecoms more in favour of the customer, many of whom have faced unnecessary hurdles and frustrations when trying to sort out their services.”

The commitments form part of Ofcom’s wider programme to promote fairness in the industry.

Since April, broadband and landline customers have been able to get compensation from their providers when things go wrong, without having to fight for it.

Providers must also inform customers when their contract is coming to an end, and show the best deals available.

From 1 July mobile phone customers will be able to change provider with a text message. Mobile providers will also be banned from charging for notice periods running after the switch date.

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