BT is offering prepaid Reward cards and M&S vouchers as freebies with some discounted broadband packages. Among the bundles including the free bonuses is the BT Unlimited Broadband & Calls deal. This offers broadband speeds of up to 17Mbps and unlimited downloads, along with a free BT Reward card worth ?60 and an M&S prepaid card worth ?40.
The 12-month contract costs ?26.99 a month (plus a ?9.99 set-up cost), which means subscribers will enjoy a discount worth ?36 on their broadband across the whole year. Another option for households in the market for a new broadband deal could be the BT Infinity Fibre Unlimited Broadband & Calls package. This offers broadband speeds of up to 52Mbps and unlimited downloads, an M&S prepaid card worth ?40 and a free BT Reward card prepaid with a sum of ?120.
The 12-month contract costs ?31.99 per month, along with a set-up cost of ?34.99. This adds up to an overall discount over the year of ?96. Alternatively, the BT Infinity Fibre Unlimited Broadband, Calls & Starter + BT Sport package might be a popular choice.
This also offers broadband speeds of up to 52Mbps, unlimited downloads and a free ?120 prepaid BT Reward card and ?40 prepaid M&S card. However, subscribers can also add a BT Sport pack for ?3.50 a month and enjoy up to 100 Freeview channels, including 21 in HD. This 12-month contract costs ?35.49 per month, plus a ?69.99 setup cost.
A BT prepaid Reward card simply needs to be activated before being spent at any retailer that shows a MasterCard logo.
BT states that since the card uses Chip and PIN, it is a more secure alternative to spending physical cash.
Ofcom has given telecoms providers just over a year to prepare for new customer protection rules. The watchdog is implementing new regulations addressing how firms deal with issues such as customer complaints, billing and identifying vulnerable customers. These will come into effect at the beginning of October next year, so communications providers have time to make the necessary preparations.
Among the new rules will be a tougher complaints handling procedure, to make sure customer grievances are dealt with “promptly and effectively”. Ofcom also wants to ensure consumers are kept informed about how their complaint is proceeding, as well as get faster access to dispute resolution services if they reach a deadlock with their provider. Broadband and mobile providers will also be required to have fair and transparent debt collection and disconnection practices in place.
Meanwhile, the rules on billing accuracy will be extended to include broadband, as they only apply to voice call services at the moment. Another key change will be a requirement for communications providers to have clear and effective policies and procedures for identifying vulnerable customers, such as those with physical or mental illness and people with learning or communication difficulties. Ofcom hopes this will ensure these individuals are treated “fairly and appropriately”.
Communications providers will also be required to offer disabled users access to priority fault repair, third-party bill management and accessible bills. These measures have already been applied to landline and mobile services for disabled customers, but this is the first time they will be applied to broadband. Finally, providers of phone services will be banned from charging for call display facilities, in order to help customers screen nuisance calls.
“We have clarified and simplified many of our rules, making them easier for providers to understand,” Ofcom said.
“We have also made the regulations simpler by removing rules that are no longer in use.”