An East Anglian communications consultant has welcomed news that the telecoms regulator, Ofcom, is to ban broadband and landline contracts which automatically tie customers into long-term deals from December. “These Automatically Renewable Contracts (ARCs) kick in if customers do not actively opt out, and prevent businesses and consumers from having the freedom of choice to move to another supplier,” explained Karl Alderton from Norwich-based Comms Consulting.
“In many situations, these rollover contracts locked a customer into a service which was not best suited to their needs and was often more expensive than newer products, leaving them highly dissatisfied with their provider while blocking any opportunity to switch to an improved deal,” continued Mr Alderton who established his communications consultancy in Thorpe St Andrew in July 2010 to deliver communications cost management solutions to businesses and organisations across the UK.
At the end of each minimum contract period (MCP), an automatically renewing contract (ARC) rolls forward to a new MCP by default unless the customer proactively informs their communications provider to the contrary. BT is the largest communications provider currently offering this type of rollover contract. The sale of new automatically renewable contracts to residential and small business customers will be prohibited from 31 December 2011. Ofcom will also require communications providers to move all residential and small business customers currently on rollover contracts to alternative deals, and to completely remove rollover contracts from the market by 31 December 2012.