Ofcom to investigate 'additional' telecoms charges

07 June 2007
Telecoms industry regulator Ofcom has launched a review into 'additional' fees charged by some providers of TV, phone and broadband after receiving customer complaints.

The review "will consider whether additional charges are sufficiently transparent, whether the charges or their levels are unfair, and what action, if any, is necessary," the regulator explained.

'Additional' charges can penalise customers who pay their bills late, or using a payment method other than a debit card.

They may also be imposed on customers who terminate their contract with their supplier before their contract period has expired or who ask for service to be restored after a suspension.

Consumers "need confidence that any additional charges are fair, transparent and justified", stressed Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards as he launched the review.

Consumer groups welcomed the investigation, which Citizens Advice policy officer Tony Herbert described as a welcome move to protect "low-income consumers" in particular.

But "healthy competition" between providers would continue once "fair practice" was better established amongst all suppliers in the marketplace, he added.

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