Responding to Ofcom’s new mystery shopping research on compliance with the broadband speed code of practice, Marzena Lipman, policy manager at Consumer Focus, said:
‘The most common problem for broadband consumers is ending-up with a slower broadband speed than they expected.1 So, while it’s good news there have been improvements, it is disappointing that this research shows many providers still aren’t being as upfront with their customers as they should be.
‘Customers should be given basic information on the product they are buying, including information on the speeds they are likely to achieve. If suppliers aren’t honest from the start, it undermines consumers’ trust in the industry. We hope Ofcom’s discussions with ISPs will lead to improvements, and that the regulator will take further action if suppliers do not offer the information consumers need upfront and openly.’
Apart from improving the quality of information provided, Consumer Focus wants to see other consumer protection measures considered by the regulator. These include extending the cooling off period, so consumers can test broadband speeds once the service beds down, or introducing a penalty free post-switch period with the new provider – in case the service does not meet the description given.
Notes to editors:
- The most commonly-experienced problem in the internet market is broadband speed being slower than expected, with 30% of internet users experiencing this. Source: The Consumer Experience. Research Report, Ofcom, December 2011, p.137.