Ofcom Opens Probe Into BT Customer Contracts

Telecoms regulator Ofcom has opened an investigation into BT and its subsidiaries EE and Plusnet over the telco’s obligation to provide clear contract information.

In October of last year Ofcom launched a probe into EE, also a BT subsidiary, over similar concerns.

The regulator said that in the course of the EE inquiry it received information giving it “reason to suspect that Plusnet may also have failed to comply with these requirements”.

As a result the regulator said it is closing the EE inquiry and merging it into an investigation of BT and its Plusnet and EE subsidiaries.

Consumer protection

Under rules introduced in June 2022 telecommunications providers are obliged to provide a short, usually one-page summary of key contract terms before consumers enter into a contract, including clear examples of how any price increases may affect the price they pay.

The summary must include information such as broadband speed, price and length of contract, and the company’s terms and conditions if the customer decides to end their contract early.

Customers are able to request the summary in an accessible format, such as large print or Braille.

The change was designed to help people avoid being caught out by surprise price hikes, at a time when household budgets are under strain.

Consumer confidence

Ofcom said the rules are important for helping users to compare deals with confidence and make informed choices.

“Our investigation will now consider if BT has breached Ofcom’s rules because of suspected breaches by each of these subsidiaries,” Ofcom stated.

“We will gather further information and provide updates as our investigation progresses.”

BT said, “We want our customers to be fully informed and we make sales information upfront, clear and transparent.

“We are fully engaged with Ofcom during the course of this investigation.”

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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