Ofcom outlaws 'Automatically Renewing Contracts'

Its somewhat old news now - but definitely worth re-iterating... In September 2011 OFCOM outlawed ARC's (or Automatically Renewing Contracts) for all residential and small business customers. And yet - even this week - here at VOOT we have seen evidence of a number of customers being informed that their contract has been 'rolled over' for another 12/24 and even 36 months... 

Here is the Ofcom Press Release covering the ruling - for clarification. Please contact us for more info...

Removing barriers to switching: Ofcom bans rollover contracts

September 13, 2011

Ofcom today confirmed that rollover contracts, which tie landline and broadband customers into repeated minimum contract periods unless they opt out, will be banned from December this year.

The contracts, also known as Automatically Renewable Contracts (ARCs), roll forward to a new minimum contract period – with penalties for leaving – unless the customer actively opts out of the renewal. The ban will apply to ARCs for landline and broadband services sold to residential and small business customers.

BT is the largest communications provider currently offering these contracts and Ofcom estimates that approximately 15 per cent of UK residential consumers are on rollover contracts. Other residential providers include Adept Telecom, Axis Telecom, Eze Talk and iTalk, while TalkTalk Business, Titan Telecoms, and Optimum Calls offer ARCs to business users.

Ofcom Chief Executive, Ed Richards, said: “Ofcom’s evidence shows that ARCs raise barriers to effective competition by locking customers into long term deals with little additional benefit. Our concern about the effect of ARCs and other ‘lock in’ mechanisms led to our decision to ban them in the communications sector.”

Removing rollover contracts from the market

Ofcom has set out a timetable for the removal of rollover contracts from the telecoms market which takes account of systems changes that will need to be made by communications providers.

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.

Ofcom has published its statement on ARCs on its website.

80% of UK mobile users on wrong tariff

For the sake of clarity - lets just repeat that. 80% OF THE UK'S MOBILE USERS ARE ON THE WRONG TARIFF.

Todays Press was full of the news announced by Billmonitor - an Ofcom approved bill analysis company - that Britons on average spend £195 more per year than they should on their mobile phone bills. Apply those averages to a business - that may have numerous handsets - and it doesn't take a genius to work out that this can add up to significant sums of money.

At VOOT - far from being shocked by these figures - we are delighted that the message appears to finally getting across. We have been telling people this for some time - and demonstrating to our growing band of customers how we can provide independent analysis and a more appropriate tariff for our customers.

While businesses can do their own work on this and purchase direct - we see very few clients who have made this approach work.  Here at VOOT we don't charge a penny to our customers for analysis - and in over 90% of cases we save our customers over 20% per annum on their mobile bills. I think thats another stat thats worth repeating. WE SAVE 90% OF OUR CUSTOMERS OVER 20% PER ANNUM ON THEIR MOBILE BILLS.

So - we can save you money, we don't charge you anything, you get all the benefits of free consultancy while being billed directly by the networks, and we even provide you with ongoing customer service over and above the networks own.

THATS WHATS KNOWN AS A NO-BRAINER. We look forward to hearing from you.