Broadband, phone and TV customers must be told when their contract is coming to an end and shown the best deals available, under new rules announced Wednesday.
Ofcom, the UK's communications watchdog, said more than 20 million people have stuck with their subscriptions beyond their initial contract period without realising, and many could be paying more than they need to.
People who bundle their landline and broadband services together pay, on average, 20% more when they are “out of contract,” rising to 26% among customers who also bundle their pay TV with these services, it added.
And Brits should be reminded they have the choice to switch to another provider or new deal with their current provider on a yearly basis.
Ofcom first announced its plan for out-of-contract notifications in July 2018.
Service providers have nine months to update their systems. From 15 February 2020, companies will need to send out notifications via text, email or post in 10 to 40 days before a customer's contract ends.
The notifications must state the date their contract can be terminated without a penalty, the price they have been paying, any changes to the service that may come into effect after the date, how much notice they need to give to cancel the deal, and the best alternative deals on offer.
Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom's consumer group director, said: “We're making sure customers are treated fairly by making companies give them the information they need when they need it.
“This will put the power in the hands of millions of people who are paying more than necessary when they are no longer tied to a contract.”