Ofcom Open Investigation into the Difficulty of Cancelling ISP Contracts - ISPreview UK
Communication providers (broadband, mobile, TV and phone) that make it hard for customers in the United Kingdom to cancel or switch their service have been placed under the spotlight after the national telecoms regulator, Ofcom, launched a new monitoring and enforcement programme to assess the problem.

In an ideal world it should be fairly easy for consumers to exit their communications service contract “quickly, conveniently and without error” (although leaving early may still attract extra costs), yet Ofcom continues to receive a “large number of complaints” about the difficulties that consumers experience when trying to leave their provider.

Some of the examples that Ofcom give for this include obstructions like long call centre waiting times while trying to cancel, difficulties in securing mobile Portability Access Codes (PAC), billing continuing after a contract has ended and problems unlocking mobile handsets post-contract.

Ofcoms Statement

Taken together, these suggest that CPs are systematically making it difficult for customers to exit their contract. We consider that this allegation is extremely serious, and, if sustained, may result in significant consumer harm within the market for UK communications goods and services.

We believe that opening a six-month monitoring and enforcement programme, covering cancellation and termination arrangements in general is an appropriate response to our concerns. We will work to prioritise issues according to our on-going evidence gathering in this area and will provide updates on this work over the coming months
The timing of Ofcom’s move also makes sense given that they intend to introduce a new harmonised migration (switching) system using the GPL NoT+ solution from 20th June 2015 (full guide here), which will make it easier to switch fixed line broadband and phone providers by only requiring consumers to contact their new (gaining) provider.

At this stage the regulator hasn’t singled out any particular providers for punishment or further investigation, although the opening of such a programme suggests that some examples might crop up in the not too distant future.

In extreme situations Ofcom can impose a significant financial penalty against related providers, although they usually prefer to get the issue(s) resolved voluntary first.