Contracts

Contracts iconChanges to Terms and Conditions

Phone and broadband providers can change the terms of a contract so long as they provide a month's notice.

However, if you believe the change will cause you material detriment, your provider should consider this and, if they agree, allow you to end the contract without penalty.

To improve protection for consumers and small businesses against mid-contract price rises, Ofcom issued new Guidance which applies to any new contracts entered into from 23 January 2014.

The Guidance sets out that if a provider wishes to increase the monthly subscription price (or prices) agreed by the customer at point of sale, customers should be given at least one month's notice of the increase and be allowed to exit the contract without penalty.

If you believe your provider has not followed these requirements, contact their customer services department and explain your problem.

If this doesn't resolve your problem, ask your provider for a deadlock letter. This enables you to take your complaint to an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme.

ADRs act as an independent middleman and will examine the case from both sides and reach a decision they think fair. If eight weeks have passed since you first formally complained you can contact the ADR directly.

Button link to ADR checkerThere are two ADR schemes – Ombudsman Services: Communications, and the Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS). All service providers must belong to one of the schemes.Your provider will tell you which scheme it is a member of, or you can use our ADR checker.

Unfair terms

If you believe any of the terms and conditions in your ‘phone or broadband contract are unfair, you should contact your provider.

If this doesn't resolve your problem, ask your provider for a deadlock letter.  This enables you to take your complaint to an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme.

ADRs act as an independent middleman and will examine the case from both sides and reach a decision they think fair. If eight weeks have passed since you first formally complained you can contact the ADR directly.

Button link to ADR checkerThere are two ADR schemes – Ombudsman Services: Communications, and the Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS). All service providers must belong to one of the schemes. Your provider will tell you which scheme it is a member of, or you can use our ADR checker.

Although Ofcom cannot handle individual consumer complaints, we can consider complaints made about the fairness of any contract term drawn up for general use.

If you have a copy of the terms and conditions which you believe are unfair, send a copy of these, with the specific term highlighted, to our address below:

Ofcom ,

Riverside House,

2a Southwark Bridge Road,

London SE1 9HA

Please note you should make clear why you believe the contract term is unfair.