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Ofcom to Support People Struggling to Pay Telecoms Bills Due to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic caused cascading issues that are currently burdening a significant amount of people in the UK.  However, the government is doing all in its power to help those who need assistance, especially the most vulnerable population.

 

If you are struggling with payments regarding your phone, broadband, TV, or internet bills, the industry regulator Ofcom has presented a solution. You are now allowed to arrange for a payment plan that will agree with your circumstance, which you can discuss with your service provider.

 

Help with payments

 

Contact your service provider if the coronavirus crisis has left you struggling to pay debts. You can then request a payment plan that will make it easier for you to pay off what you owe.

 

It is important to note that you might incur charges if you fail to make a payment because you didn’t set up a payment plan with your service provider.

 

Your telecom supplier will be working out the total amount owed and the best payment plan that reflects your current estimated consumption and previous unpaid bills.

 

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Providers are expected to offer help to customers who seek assistance with their bills. Ofcom has made sure to remind companies to consider their customers’ circumstances. They are prohibited from asking to pay more than what the customer can afford.

 

This move by the Ofcom allows you to stay connected despite struggling to catch up with bills. Telecom providers have been working throughout the pandemic to ensure that customers have access to different services. They have also implemented measures to protect the most vulnerable customers in this time of crisis.

 

Ofcom’s directive to providers

 

The industry watchdog has sent out guidelines on how they can help customers who are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Firstly, providers are expected to prioritise support for users who are finding it hard to pay telecom bills such as the internet, phone, broadband, or TV. They should also provide advice regarding debt management so that customers can ease their worries about paying off debts. The companies are also asked to coordinate with consumer bodies to better communicate with the public.

 

Providers should be able to offer several options like cheaper tariffs or a customised payment plan, including payment holidays or grace periods for struggling customers. They should also deliver the standard level of service as per usual.

 

The telecom companies are also prohibited from putting penalty charges for late payments when the customer asked for support with their bills. Furthermore, they should avoid disconnecting customers from services and instead treat this solution as a last resort.

 

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What should you do?

 

If you are one of the many affected by the COVID-19 lockdown, call your service provider as soon as possible and ask what assistance you can get from them.

 

Your service provider might agree to any of the following support:

  • >Bill reduction
  • >Delayed payments
  • >Increase in download or data limit
  • >Contract switching to a more affordable and suitable deal

Should you feel that the help offered to you is not enough, it might be time to switch to another provider that can provide your needs and requirements.

 

If you are working for the NHS, you might be eligible for exclusive perks and support from your provider, such as:

  • >More calls, texts, or data
  • >Broadband upgrade in case you need to work from home

 

Some telecom providers might have other special offers to NHS staff; you can contact yours to see what packages you can avail of to help you during this time of crisis.

 

Citizens Advice is also encouraging consumers to explore other options from phone providers to get a better deal than the one they have. If you are planning to switch, make sure to read your current tariff’s terms and conditions carefully to see whether you are still under a contract.

 

You can use a price comparison site accredited by Ofcom to help you choose the best plan that will suit your current situation.

 

 

 


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Internet, Phone