» ISP News » 
Sponsored Links

Ofcom Find UK People Turn to Telecoms Providers for Debt Advice

Friday, May 17th, 2024 (11:25 am) - Score 1,320
Pound money uk piggy bank savings image

New research from Ofcom, which surveyed 1,104 UK adults aged 18+ during November 2023, has suggested that 83% of UK people who had looked for information about debt support ended up turning to their broadband, landline and or mobile provider for it. More often than not, they found what they were looking for.

The regulator typically keeps a close eye on levels of debt in the UK telecoms market and monitors how vulnerable customers are treated by providers. For example, last year Ofcom found that just over 2% of customers had missed at least one payment to their provider, and less than 1% had missed two or more payments.

As part of this work, the regulator also wanted to gain a greater understanding of consumers’ experiences of their interactions with their communications providers in relation to the provision/prominence of information about debt support available to them. In particular, they wanted to hear about consumers’ direct experiences and what they might do if in future they were unable or struggling to pay.

The focus of this latest research was thus to understand whether account holders who had missed at least one payment during 2023 had received any debt support information from their providers, and whether (if at all) account holders had personally looked for this information.

Summary of the Key Findings

➤ 94% of account holders of landline, fixed broadband and/or mobile services had not missed a telecoms payment since the start of 2023, while 93% of our sample had not looked for any telecoms debt support information during the same period.

➤ 5% of the sample were account holders for landline and/or fixed broadband and/or a mobile service and claimed to have missed one or more telecoms payment since the start of 2023.

➤ While only indicative, 53% of those who claimed to have experienced debt in 2023 recalled receiving information from their provider, indicating that they offer support to customers who are unable or struggling to pay their bill.

➤ When asking respondents who had not missed a payment in 2023 where they would think to look for information about debt support if they were unable or struggling to pay, the most popular sources for advice were their providers (48%), friends and family (32%) and a charity/organisation that gives free debt advice (22%).

➤ Of those who turned to their provider for debt support information, visiting their provider’s website and contacting their provider by phone or in writing (e.g. via email or letter) were the most popular sources. Ofcom’s research found that those who had looked for support information through their provider, were able to find it from the sources they looked at.

However, with only around half (53%) of those who experienced telecoms debt last year being able to recall receiving information from their provider about debt support, this may point to providers’ communication of debt support when a customer misses a payment not being as effective as it could be.

Under Ofcom’s rules, telecoms providers must have policies and procedures in place to make sure vulnerable customers are treated fairly, including those in financial difficulty. The regulator has previously produced a guide with best practice examples suggesting how vulnerable customers should be treated, including people who are behind on their bills.

When this happens, Ofcom says they would expect providers to:

  • Emphasise the support they offer to customers in debt;
  • Allow customers time to get help and support, without the threat of disconnection during that period;
  • Take account of the customer’s individual circumstances where appropriate;
  • Consider offering payment holidays or deferrals, or freeze additional fees and charges;
  • Discuss a realistic, reasonable and flexible repayment plan;
  • Offer tariff advice, whether switching to a cheaper tariff or social tariff; and
  • Signpost customers to debt organisations or charities that can provide free advice and support.

Last month, the UK Regulators Network also published information to help people who may need additional support during the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. Ofcom’s advice to customers who are having difficulty paying a bill is to talk to your provider as soon as possible – they might be able to help.

Share with Twitter
Share with Linkedin
Share with Facebook
Share with Reddit
Share with Pinterest
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
Search ISP News
Search ISP Listings
Search ISP Reviews
1 Response
  1. Avatar photo Rik says:

    If you’re in debt with a service, the best thing to do is speak to them first of all before things escalate. It’s reassuring to see most are doing this.

    Debt management charities are another great resource for those with more persistent debt with multiple services.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

NOTE: Your comment may not appear instantly (it may take several hours) due to static caching or random moderation checks by the anti-spam system.
Javascript must be enabled to post (most browsers do this automatically)

Privacy Notice: Please note that news comments are anonymous, which means that we do NOT require you to enter any real personal details to post a message. By clicking to submit a post you agree to storing your comment content, display name, IP, email and / or website details in our database, for as long as the post remains live.

Only the submitted name and comment will be displayed in public, while the rest will be kept private (we will never share this outside of ISPreview, regardless of whether the data is real or fake). This comment system uses submitted IP, email and website address data to spot abuse and spammers. All data is transferred via an encrypted (https secure) session.

NOTE 1: Sometimes your comment might not appear immediately due to site cache (this is cleared every few hours) or it may be caught by automated moderation / anti-spam.

NOTE 2: Comments that break our rules, spam, troll or post via known fake IP/proxy servers may be blocked or removed.
Cheap BIG ISPs for 100Mbps+
Community Fibre UK ISP Logo
Gift: None
Virgin Media UK ISP Logo
Virgin Media £25.00
Gift: None
Vodafone UK ISP Logo
Vodafone £26.50 - 27.00
Gift: None
Sky Broadband UK ISP Logo
Gift: None
Plusnet UK ISP Logo
Plusnet £27.99
Gift: None
Large Availability | View All
Cheapest ISPs for 100Mbps+
Gigaclear UK ISP Logo
Gigaclear £17.00
Gift: None
Community Fibre UK ISP Logo
Gift: None
BeFibre UK ISP Logo
BeFibre £19.00
Gift: None
YouFibre UK ISP Logo
YouFibre £21.99
Gift: None
Hey! Broadband UK ISP Logo
Gift: None
Large Availability | View All
The Top 15 Category Tags
  1. FTTP (5641)
  2. BT (3544)
  3. Politics (2575)
  4. Openreach (2323)
  5. Business (2301)
  6. Building Digital UK (2263)
  7. FTTC (2052)
  8. Mobile Broadband (2009)
  9. Statistics (1810)
  10. 4G (1697)
  11. Virgin Media (1651)
  12. Ofcom Regulation (1483)
  13. Fibre Optic (1413)
  14. Wireless Internet (1408)
  15. FTTH (1382)

Copyright © 1999 to Present - ISPreview.co.uk - All Rights Reserved - Terms , Privacy and Cookie Policy , Links , Website Rules , Contact