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Monday, July 15, 2013

The Worst Of Broadband

If you’re looking to get your first ever broadband deal, or even if you’re looking to switch provider, there are certain things that should be looked out for so that you can avoid the pitfalls.

Penalties for Exit

If you’re going to end a contract with a broadband provider then in most cases you will have to see the whole contract through to termination, or pay.  There are very few situations in which you won’t have to do this.  Some broadband providers will offer you a penalty fee in order to exit the contract.  Some will make the rather onerous demand that you pay for the remaining value of the contract in full.  Whichever the option, there will be financial outlay and you might well be better off just sticking with the existing contract and gritting your teeth.

No Contract or Hidden Contract 

For some people there is a huge surprise when they realise that their no-contract or one-month contract turns out to be a much longer tie-in deal.  Broadband providers often choose to charge you more for deals that have no contract and some will request that you give them notice before existing.  Rolling contracts often require 30-days notice.  So in the essence, you’re in a minimum 60-day contract.

In addition, you have to read the small print because if you are in a one-month contract, some providers will expect you to refund free installation costs and other funds if you leave within 12 months of joining.

Limiting Your Broadband Performance

Many providers offering unlimited broadband will limit the amount of data that you can use and will limit the bandwidth during certain times of the day.  Most companies have some sort of fair use policy and will penalise you if you are a heavy user.  Providers may slow down your connection if you are overusing your allowance, or you might even be charged extra on your monthly bill.  Extreme cases may result in the termination of your contract.

Sky offers truly unlimited broadband with no traffic management and no usage limits.  At the other end of the spectrum, TalkTalk Broadband says that unlimited usage equals 40GB per month.


If you’re switching from one ADSL broadband service to another then you will need the MAC number, which is the migration access code.  Local loop unbundling technology may not need this number and fibre optic broadband won’t either.  The provider that you’re moving to will tell you what you need in order to complete the transfer process.

Make sure that you have permission to exit your contract and you have in writing that you will not be charged additional fees.  Many consumers have been caught out being charged fees and even finding later down the line that they have defaults and county court judgments for broadband that they thought they had cancelled.

Underperformance of Broadband

If you want to leave your contract, you’ll most likely have to pay a cancellation fee and early exit charges.  However, if you are leaving due to underperformance of your service you should check the contractual obligations of the supplier and also the details of your warranty.

There are certain levels under which broadband is unacceptable in the terms of suppliers and Ofcom.  For instance, BT has 5MB and 15MB thresholds that dictate whether their service is acceptable or not.  If the service is underperforming, and the ISP is committed to meeting certain standard, then you may well be able to exit without additional fees.

Top Tip
Make sure you’re always courteous and polite with your provider.  There’s no point shouting as you won’t get anything done.  Keep notes of all communications and take reference numbers and ticket numbers to ensure that you always have something to refer to in future communications.  If something is agreed then make sure you get a copy of the agreement in the post so that you have proof.

Phil Turner knows that not every service provider offers good quality broadband, that’s why when he saw Sky Offers in a magazine he did some research before signing a contract.
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