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Response to Ofcom’s research on telecoms affordability | Dec 2020

Ombudsman Services | Dec 18, 2020

New Ofcom research has revealed the challenges and tough choices many telecoms customers are facing this year.

The research found that nearly one in five households – around 4.7 million homes – struggle to afford their telecoms services as 6% have difficulties paying for their fixed home broadband, while 5% struggle with their mobile bill.

When struggling to pay for a service, the most common action taken by customers is to cut back on a package to make it more affordable – something one in 10 households say they have done.

Other steps include reducing spend on other items such as food and clothes, cancelling a service, missing a payment, or changing their payment method.

Ed Dodman, director of regulatory affairs at Ombudsman Services, responded to the findings by saying:

“We welcome the steps that telecoms providers have taken this year to support consumers who are in financial difficulty – and it’s good to see that value for money has improved overall.

“At the same time we support the steps Ofcom has identified for further action and support as we head into 2021.

“Next year looks set to be a challenging one for many consumers, especially given the planned closure of government support measures such as the furlough scheme.

“As the ombudsman we are starting to see an increase in complaints linked to affordability issues – and this increase could well continue into next year.

“Given this we feel it’s important that the telecoms sector continues its efforts to ensure that consumers who need additional support are given it.”