The recent price increases imposed on UK subscribers have caused controversy, prompting the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) to publish new guidance on related advertising. In April this year, a typical price hike of 14.4% was passed on to customers of operators and ISPs, a move that caught many off guard.
Though the increases were contractually legitimate, the CAP’s suggestions aim to ensure companies are less likely to mislead consumers. The recommendations include not implying that a price will apply for the full minimum contract term if it will not, clearly presenting inflation terminology, displaying the details of price increase prominently, and making the full amount payable after the increase clear once the relevant rate is known.
The CAP consulted with various telecoms and industry stakeholders while drafting the guidance. Altnet Hyperoptic, a long-time critic of mid-contract price rises, expressed moderate satisfaction with the outcome. “This is the beginning of the end for mid-contract price rises,” said James Fredrickson, Policy Director at Hyperoptic. However, the guidance will not take effect for another six months, prompting concerns that more people could sign up to contracts without being fully aware of potential price increases.