Looking to change your current business broadband provider? You should first be aware of your current contract situation. Being in contract your supplier would generally inform you to pay cancellation fees if leaving, but under the law a lot of practices would justify an early cancellation. Here are some tips and information that will help you clear your situation with your current provider. You might be able to end your contract within your minimum terms with no extra charges!
Early cancellation fees actually depend on the provider cancellation policy but generally it is equal to your monthly contract amount x the number of months left in your initial contract period. If you didn’t face any problem during your contract period you will most of the time have to wait until the end of your minimum terms before switching without fees. Be aware however that if a provider says there is no minimum contract that doesn’t mean you won’t pay a cancellation fee. Some, such as PlusNet, Direct Save Telecom and Be Broadband, will charge a fixed cancellation fee of between £47 and £80 within the first 12 months. Others like BT would also charge you with equipment fees when you cancel your contract…
Before accepting anything you should first know a little bit more about your rights. If you are dissatisfied with your business broadband package then request your contract terms. You can also ask your supplier if your contract came with a Service Level Agreement (SLA). This will define the terms of the service you are being provided and may include further information such as: speed of connection, coverage levels, the speed of taking over queries etc. If your provider didn’t meet the terms of your contract you can legitimately ask for compensation. If these problems are persistent the law clearly allows you to cancel your business broadband deal with no additional charges.
Contract price rises and Automatically Renewable Contracts (ARC)
Under Ofcom (UK’s telecom regulator) rules, communication providers must give all businesses at least one month notice of any changes in their contract that are likely to be of material detriment to them, including increases in the price you agreed. If you have ten employees or fewer and your provider increased the price of your broadband package you should be given one month’s notice about this change and be allowed to exit the contract without penalty. If that was not the case feel free to complain!
Automatically renewable contracts are contracts that automatically roll forward to a new minimum contract period and which includes penalties for leaving. Today these contracts are forbidden for very small businesses (<10 employees) and business broadband provider must obtain your consent for every minimum contract. But if your business has more than 10 employees you should be careful with this practice and discuss with your provider its renewing policy.
Many broadband providers may still have some rogue practices, so always ask for the terms and don’t commit to anything if you are unclear with it. If you have any doubts concerning your rights or the procedures you can launch do not hesitate to visit Ofcom’s website to get more information.
Telecom disputes resolution
If your business broadband provider is not likely to accept your legitimate demands, you can ask for a third-party to end the conflict. Independent services currently exist to solve these problems but very few suppliers would let you know that. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) allows customers to request an independent body for impartial judgement when a dispute lasts over 8 weeks. This independent body will eventually have the final say on the dispute so do not hesitate to request it.