Broadband providers have annual price rises on their deals every year – usually in March or April – linked to inflation, as well as an additional fee to adjust for rising business costs. Also known as mid-contract price increases, they are added to your bill even if you are a new customer or you’ve already started a minimum contract period.
However, this came to a tipping point this Spring with broadband customers seeing their monthly payment increase up to 14.4% using January’s CPI inflation rate and adding up to 3.9% on top.
Back in February, Hyperoptic conducted some research that showed that half of the consumers who had recently signed up for a contract did not know how much more they’d be paying in April, and 24% had no idea any increase was coming. In addition, 60% said they regretted their decision to sign up and would have chosen a different ISP having discovered the extent of mid-contract price hikes.
In order to tackle this issue and protect the customers, the UK Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP and BCAP) have set out new guidance for how providers should communicate their packages and mid-contract price rises, making such policies clearer and more transparent. They aim to have the new rules in place by the 15th of December 2023, following a six-month grace period to allow providers to make necessary changes to their campaigns.
The key principles of the new guideline make clear that ads are less likely to mislead consumers when:
- They do not state or imply that a price will apply for the full minimum term of the contract, if that is not the case – for example, claims such as “£X for X months” or “fixed for X months” are unlikely to be acceptable if the price is due to rise and any subsequent qualifying information is likely to contradict rather than clarify the claim.
- Price claims are presented in a manner that warns consumers of the presence or possibility of a mid-contract price increase.
- The details on which the increase will be based are highlighted in comparison with the price.
- The terminology of inflation is made understandable.
- They include the full amount the consumer will pay after the increase, once the relevant rate is known.
- They express clearly if ending a variable contract, due to a price increase, will impact other linked services.
These guidelines represent a positive step forward, even though the ASA (inc. CAP / BCAP) does not have the power to ban mid-contract price rises. Also, we should take into consideration that not all broadband providers play the mid-contract hikes game. A good number of ISPs, particularly smaller ISPs, have fixed pricing that rarely changes.
If you would like to know what you can do to avoid a price increase, read our guide here.
We’re keeping our pricing below inflation rates
Everyday Communications, despite being a smaller ISP, can deliver fast, reliable broadband and excellent customer service at a reasonable price. If you’re unsure how to choose an ISP plan, please do not hesitate to contact us.