Ofcom, the telecoms regulator, has published guidance setting out the difference between third party bill management and other ways a person might be helped to manage their account.

Telecoms providers have to offer 3rd party account management, but if a customer hasn't set this up and later loses the ability to make financial decisions there can be difficulties in paying the bills and managing the account.

When someone can't make decisions about their affairs, practical arrangements such as phone and utility accounts can be a big worry for those helping them to manage their money.

This welcome guidance explains the ways someone might be appointed to assist a vulnerable customer and their rights to manage the account.

The regulator's guidance should help to raise awareness within telecoms providers, but customers should make a power of attorney so that someone they trust can deal with the telecoms account and other financial affairs if they are not able to.