Draft BEREC Report on contractual simplification

Document number: BoR (18) 172

Document date: 04.10.2018

Date of registration: 10.10.2018

Document type:
Author: BEREC

Contracts between providers of electronic communication services (ECS) and their end-users are becoming increasingly complex. End-user contracts can take different forms (e.g. be provided electronically or in hard copy, be concluded in the provider’s shop or at a distance, etc.) and, therefore, may include different amounts and categories of information. In order to allow consumers to make informed and correct decisions when acquiring, terminating and switching ECS (or ECS bundled with equipment/devices), it is important that such contracts provide clear and relevant information in a simplified, easily understandable manner.

This report collates information on practices and initiatives in Member States (MS) to prescribe key information elements (i.e. important contract terms) for contracts between consumers and providers of publicly available ECS, which are intended to assist the consumer to better understand the terms of their contract. BEREC issued a comprehensive questionnaire to National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs), which sought information on any measures or initiatives that had been taken in their MS – not necessarily by the NRA itself – to prescribe how key information elements should be presented in order that consumers of ECS could better understand their contracts.

Responses to the questionnaire were received by 6 July 2018 and form the basis of this report. The report also includes details of NRAs’ formal enforcement action in respect of unclear or missing contract information. Such measures are largely the NRAs’ retrospective manner of prescribing how things should not be done. The report also includes NRAs’ opinions on the most important information elements (and sub-elements) that should be included in a contract summary, regardless of any measures or initiatives that the NRA may have taken.This report, when finalised having considered the responses received to a public consultation, will also be taken into account when developing BEREC’s input to the EU Commission’s implementing act specifying a contract summary sheet. Member States (MS) is the generic term used throughout this report to include all countries, whose NRAs have responded to the BEREC questionnaire, regardless of the NRAs status with respect to BEREC (e.g. member or observer) or the country’s status with respect to the EU (e.g. member, accession state or member of EEA/EFTA)