Today sees TalkTalk launch a Fairer Broadband Charter to challenge unfair industry practices as new research unveils the true extent of consumer frustration within the telecoms industry.
The research commissioned by TalkTalk as part of its campaign for fairer broadband found that almost nine out of ten (87%) consumers think it’s unfair that providers raise their broadband price mid-contract. All major providers except TalkTalk have introduced a mid-contract broadband price increase in the last 18 months, so it’s no surprise that 54% of consumers would support a complete ban on these price hikes.
The research also found that loyal customers continue to be punished as broadband providers fail to let customers know when their contract is coming to an end. Almost two out of three (62%) say they don’t know when their contract ends, as they’re left to roll onto higher out-of-contract rates.
Since launching its range of Fixed Price Plans two years ago, which guarantee no mid-contract broadband price increases, TalkTalk’s Fairness Charter is the latest demonstration of its commitment to fairness and value. The three-point charter challenges the telecoms industry to end mid-contract broadband price hikes by promising that the price customers sign up to will be the same for the duration of their contract.
Following Ofcom’s latest initiative to ensure customers are notified when their contract is coming to an end, TalkTalk’s Fairer Broadband charter puts the value provider ahead of the pack with its pledge to continue contacting all customers before they come out-of-contract. TalkTalk is taking this a step further by proactively offering competitive package prices so customers can continue benefiting from value for money broadband that suits their needs. The charter also encourages competitors to follow TalkTalk’s lead in offering a connection guarantee – allowing customers to walk away if their connectivity falls short of what they were promised.
Tristia Harrison, CEO, TalkTalk says “Telecoms companies have been ripping-off consumers for far too long.The industry has to change to rebuild trust with consumers. We led the way two years ago and became the first provider to guarantee no mid-contract price rises. It’s proved hugely popular and today we’re going even further. Our Fairer Broadband Charter sets out three simple ways we’ll put customers first. I’m challenging our rivals to follow our lead so that the whole industry can rebuild trust with customers.”
TalkTalk’s Fairer Broadband Charter (download here)
It’s time to end unfair mid-contract price rises. We are challenging all providers to guarantee that the price customers sign up to will be the price they pay.
Customers can feel cheated when providers increase prices mid-way through a contract. TalkTalk is the only major broadband provider to guarantee no mid-contract broadband price rises across all its plans. It’s an issue of trust. If customers sign a contract, they expect it to be honoured.
We are challenging all providers to introduce a connection guarantee – allowing all new fibre customers to walk away if the speed and reliability of services falls short of what they were promised.
Customers need to have confidence than they’ll get what they were promised. That’s why we’ve introduced a Great Connection Guarantee, meaning new fibre customers are free to leave at any point for the first 30 days of going live if they’re unhappy with the connection. Our standard broadband customers who upgrade to fibre can also make the most of this initiative. If they are unhappy with their upgrade, they can rollback to standard broadband without penalty in the first 30 days of going live.
We are now looking at extending this initiative to new standard broadband customers.
We are challenging all providers to proactively write to customers before their contract expires, warning them about any price rises and offering the option to re-contract at lower prices than standard out-of-contract pricing. That gives power back to customers and avoids hidden price increases.
For too long, providers have avoided warning customers when their contract is about to expire. That leaves too many customers paying more than they realise. Some customers may prefer the flexibility of being out of contract, but providers should warn them and allow customers to make an informed choice, rather than hoping they don’t realise their bills have gone up.
We already contact customers to let them know their price will change when their contract ends, but to ensure they take advantage of our best value deals we’re taking this a step further.
Notes to Editors
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YouGov research October 2018, poll of 2000 UK adults
TalkTalk was founded in 2003 to give people more choice, better value for money and make telecoms accessible to everyone. TalkTalk has always challenged the status quo by launching first of a kind products and services including free broadband at a time when people were paying above the odds and the first network-level parental controls with its HomeSafe product.
In 2016 TalkTalk became the first internet provider to scrap separate line rental charges across all its packages and offer a fixed price guarantee with the promise of no broadband price rises during the length of a contract. In addition to offering totally unlimited broadband as standard, TalkTalk has led the way in providing free security and privacy features for all of its customers, while competitors charge extra for these services. In 2012 TalkTalk TV launched, offering a flexible TV service that has quickly become Britain’s fastest growing TV service.