Everyone wants to keep a close eye on costs, which generally means we are all much better at looking closely at the cost of our utilities to ensure we’re not paying over the odds.
When it comes to modern life, phone and broadband are essential, but costs can escalate all too easily, so it pays to keep an eye on what packages are on offer. But the thought of changing providers puts many people off.
A recent paper by Ofcom identifies 6 problems with the current switching process:
1. Multiple processes
Over the years the communications industry has developed its own switching process resulting in a number of different processes causing confusion, increased costs and multiple challenges.
Because different providers use different technologies, when transferring bundles of services multiple processes are required often leading to inaccurate advice on what is the correct procedure to follow.
2. Inadequate systems
Originally, the industry’s systems were set up to deal with one service over one line. But, although technology has progressed, internal systems haven’t often resulting in a lack of reliability, extra hassle and cost and even loss of service (especially when switching a bundle of services).
3. Insufficient customer consent
Often called ‘slamming’, without upfront measures to verify a customer actually wants to move, consumers can be moved from one provider to another without their knowledge or consent.
It can happen when a sales person claims to represent a different provider, or when consumers are told they are signing up for information when really they’re signing a contract, or even being sold services over and above what they agreed to.
4. Lack of awareness of the implications of switching
Problems often arise because consumers are unaware that switching from a provider comes with certain conditions. These could be that they are liable for an early termination charge, cancelling one service affects the price of another, or that continuing a service depends on them receiving the one they are switching.
5. Unnecessary switching costs/hassle
When looking to switch providers, consumers are often faced with a series of unnecessary hassles (that often lead to costs), such as the difficulty and complexity of the process, the number of different people consumers have to contact to make the switch and the ‘behind the scenes’ processes that over complicate matters resulting in a poor customer experience.
Until the industry is brought into line and continuity of technologies and processes are out in place, consumers must remain vigilant. Always make sure you read the fine print of your contract to avoid any nasty surprises when you decide to change suppliers.
Despite the issues outlined, don’t be off put by changing – just be aware of the pitfalls.
You can read Ofcom’s full report here.