Communications regulator Ofcom has announced new switching measures to allow consumers to easily change landline and broadband providers.
Ofcom said that consumers currently face a variety of different switching processes depending on which provider they are moving from and to, or the type of service being switched.
It found that in cases where the customer has to contact their existing company to request a change, the resulting process can be significantly more difficult for consumers to follow.
The regulator claims that this process can give too much control to the existing provider, which has incentive to delay or disrupt the transfer. Ofcom said this can result in unwanted pressure on customers not to change provider.
In an attempt to resolve these problems, Ofcom has decided that consumers only need follow a single switching process in future, in which the new provider leads the transfer process on behalf of the consumer.
Under this new process, consumers will no longer need to contact their existing provider to receive a code in order to switch provider.
Claudio Pollack, Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director, said: “Today’s announcement represents an important milestone in Ofcom’s work to improve consumers’ experience when switching provider.
“The move towards one clear and simple system led by the gaining provider will result in a switching process that works in consumers’ best interests. We will now be working on further measures to improve consumers’ experience of switching.”
Ofcom is consulting on the detail of putting these improvements in place, via a change to regulatory rules and on timescales for changes. This consultation closes on 2nd October 2013.
The regulator aims to finalise these details by early 2014, with the new process coming into effect within a year thereafter.