Customers struggling with telecoms bills can move to cheaper deals
Broadband and mobile giants have committed to help customers facing financial difficulty and have promised to allow people to continue to make calls, send texts and get online.
BT Group, Openreach, Sky, TalkTalk, Three, Virgin Media O2 and Vodafone have signed up to a ‘cost-of-living plan’ which means they:
- Commit to treat struggling customers with compassion, understanding, and as individuals
- Offer ways to keep customers connected, such as allowing them to move to cheaper packages without charge or penalty, or agreeing manageable payment plans
- Commit to protect the connectivity of customers known to be vulnerable as a priority
- Raise awareness of low-cost products for those claiming Universal Credit
- Consider more ways to help, such as exploring tariffs, improve existing low cost offers and increase the promotion of existing deals.
The government added that ‘social tariffs’ – which offer cheap deals to customers on Universal Credit – are available across 99% of the UK, but the latest pledge means “anyone struggling to pay their broadband or mobile bill as a result of global price rises can expect support from their provider if they ask for it”.
Social tariffs could help eligible households save more than 50% (around £180 per year) against the average cost of broadband.
The commitments were made at a government summit led by digital secretary, Nadine Dorries, who said: “Families across the country face increased anxiety about keeping up with bills, so I agreed with broadband and mobile industry bosses what more can be done to support people during this difficult time.
“I’m pleased to report the industry is listening and has signed up to new commitments offering customers struggling with the cost-of-living help to stay connected. Those who need support should contact their supplier to see what is available.”
Chief executive at Mobile UK, Hamish MacLeod, said: “Mobile operators welcome the commitments agreed upon today with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport, which build on offers already in place to help the most vulnerable. We welcomed the chance to discuss with the Government not only how to raise awareness of such schemes but also to set out the further steps being taken to support those struggling with their bills.”