Insights Ofcom opens investigation into BT’s customer contract information


On 23rd January 2023, Ofcom opened an investigation into BT’s compliance with its General Condition (GC) obligations, to provide customers with clear and simple contract information before they sign up to a new deal.[i]

The new GCs[ii] which came into effect last June, require telecoms providers to give customers contract information and a short summary of the main contract terms before signing up, as well as ensuring accessibility of contract information or contract summary for customers who may require it because of their disabilities, in a reasonably acceptable format and free of charge.

This comes on the back of another investigation (now closed) in October 2022 by Ofcom, which looked only at EE’s compliance with the relevant GCs.[iii] Ofcom “subsequently received information which gives it reason to suspect that Plusnet may also have failed to comply with these requirements.”

This new (widening) investigation is part of a broader pattern of enhanced GC compliance monitoring and enforcement action from the regulator.

Last year saw Ofcom open an investigation into Shell Energy over whether the operator had complied with obligations to send end-of-contract notifications (ECNs) and annual best tariff notifications (ABTNs) as required by GCs C1.23, C1.32 and C1.10 respectively.[iv]

Similarly, Ofcom recently closed an investigation on Sky over whether it had complied with the requirements to issue ECNs for certain pay-TV customers.[v] Ofcom ruled that:

  1. pay-TV services which rely on digital satellite transmission provided by Sky were a within the definition of a “public electronic communications network” (PECN) and thus subject to the relevant GCs on ECNs, and;
  2. By failing to send ECNs to its pay-TV customers, Sky had contravened the relevant GCs.

Sky has appealed the decision to the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT).[vi]

Ofcom is also currently investigating the prominence and transparency of in-contract price variation terms included in residential phone (fixed-line and mobile) and broadband consumer contracts entered between 1st March 2021 and 16th March 2022.[vii] Specifically, the programme seeks to examine whether there were any compliance issues under GCs C1.14 to C1.17 and to determine whether any further action, including whether enforcement, is required.

With this renewed focus from Ofcom in terms of ensuring and enforcing GC compliance, along with the new GCs set to take effect from 3rd April 2023[viii], operators will need to take extra care to ensure they are across and compliant with all their relevant GC obligations.

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Please note that this article does not include and is not intended to constitute legal advice.



[i] (Link) as accessed 23/01/2023.

[ii] General Conditions C1.3 to C1.7, and C5.16. See Unofficial Consolidated version of the General Conditions (here). As accessed 23/01/2023.

[iii] The investigation into EE (CW/01262/08/22), a subsidiary of BT PLC, will now be carried within the remit of this new wider investigation into BT PLC. Original investigation details (here). As accessed 23/01/2023.

[iv] (Link) as accessed 23/01/2023.

[v] Ofcom (2022). ‘Investigation into Sky’s compliance with the obligation to provide end-of-contract notifications. Confirmation Decision under section 96C of the Communications Act 2003 and accompany explanatory statement. 19th August 2022. (Link) as accessed 23/01/2023.

[vi] Case No: 1567/3/3/22. (Link) as accessed 23/01/2023.

[vii] (Link) as accessed 23/01/2023.

[viii] (Link) as accessed 23/01/2023.