Ofcom clamps down on unfair charges

Ofcom is clamping down on telecom and pay-TV companies over unfair charges hidden in the small print of bills. The media regulator says companies have until April to alter terms and conditions to comply with the law.

The Ofcom guidance published today (December 19) also says advertising strategies should include information on extra charges, such as non-direct debit fees, in a “prominent and transparent way” to make it easy for consumers to understand the charges.

The new guidance outlines that communication providers must meet their obligations under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulation 1999. According to the body, the new guidelines could also provide consumers the benefits of competition.

It suggests that non-direct debit charges should be clear and limited to the cost of dealing with payment. Charges for itemised billing should not usually be more than £1.50 a bill and consumers who end contracts early should not have to pay more than the payments left under the contract or should even pay less to reflect the costs providers save through early termination.

Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards says: “When consumers shop for the best deal, they should be able to easily assess the true cost on offer.” Ofcom wants to make sure that telecoms and pay-TV companies are “up front and fair” about all their charges. The guidelines follow an Ofcom review.

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here