An initial investigation by telecoms regulator, Ofcom, has today found “reasonable grounds to believe” that Sky UK (Sky TV, Sky Broadband) may have broken consumer protection rules over its apparent refusal to issue end-of-contract notifications to Pay TV customers.
The regulator’s End-of-Contract Notifications (ECN) system requires all fixed broadband, mobile, home phone and pay TV providers to issue such notifications to existing subscribers at the end of their term (sent by text, email or letter). The move is intended to help tackle the so-called “loyalty penalty” by keeping customers informed about the best deals and encouraging switching.
Says an Ofcom statement:
“We have provisionally found that as a provider of pay TV services transmitted by means of satellite distribution network, Sky provides an electronic communications service. As such, we provisionally consider that Sky is a Regulated Provider within the meaning of GC C1.10 and is required to comply with that condition in respect of its pay TV services.”
Sky now has the opportunity to make representations to Ofcom on the matters contained in the Notification before Ofcom makes a final decision in accordance with section 96C of the Act.
“We aim to reach our final decision in this case by the end of summer 2021 and will publish our findings accordingly,” concludes the statement.
Says Ernest Doku, tech expert at Uswitch.com:
“Sky and Ofcom have been at loggerheads for more than a year about whether pay TV services have to comply with rules regarding end-of-contract notifications.
“End-of-contract notifications are meant to put more power in the hands of consumers and help make informed decisions about whether their current plan is the best value for them.”
“After an investigation, Ofcom has provisionally found that pay TV is covered by these regulations, and that Sky may have been breaking the rules for a year by not providing customers with these notices.
“A final ruling won’t be made until the end of the summer, but the decision could affect thousands of consumers who use pay-TV services like Sky’s.
“In the meantime, don’t wait for an end-of-contract letter to drop through your front door if you know you are out of contract. Get online now and start researching what deals are available, even if they are with your current provider.”