Broadband

How can I avoid cancellation (or early termination) fees if I cancel my broadband contract?

Posted
on
May 9, 2023

Whether you’re moving house, need a faster speed or something just isn’t quite right, there are many reasons why you might want to cancel your broadband contract early.

In this article we’ve looked at how to cancel without a penalty and what to do next.

When can I cancel my broadband contract for free?

If you’re thinking of cancelling your broadband contract, the first thing to do is check the terms and conditions. Although many terms and conditions are fairly standard, there can still be some quite big differences between the different broadband providers.

Your specific contract will tell you what your cancellation rights are, as well as when you can cancel for free and when there will be a termination fee. It’s well worth arming yourself with the facts from the start.

Has your broadband contract already ended?

Many people simply let their broadband contract end without then signing up for a new one. This means they’re out of contract, and are therefore free to leave - without penalty - at any time. However, you’ll usually still need to give your broadband provider at least 30 days’ notice.

If you are out of contract, you may be able to negotiate a new (better) deal with your existing provider if you want to stay with them. The alternative is to shop around for a new provider. Bear in mind that some providers will charge a disconnection fee, whether you’re still in contract or not. They don’t always make it obvious though so check the small print of your contract to see if this applies.

Cancelling during your broadband contract cooling-off period

When you register for a new broadband contract, a minimum 14-day cooling-off period applies (although some providers offer longer than this). The cooling-off period starts the day after you sign up, and means you can cancel penalty-free, for any reason, during this time. You’ll just need to tell your provider in writing, highlighting that you’re still within your cooling-off period. We recommend keeping any replies and anything else related to your cancellation in case you need them later.

Make sure you don’t overrun your 14 days, because once your broadband service has been activated you’ll likely find yourself hit with cancellation charges. You may also get charged for the days you were connected.

My broadband speed isn’t as fast as I hoped. Can I cancel?

Yes you can, in fact this part of Ofcom’s code of practice. Providers that adhere to this code of practice must terminate your contract at your request - without a fee - if they don’t deliver the service promised. However, you will very likely be asked to contact their support team and go through certain procedures to try and fix the problem first.

When you first sign up for your broadband service, your provider should give you a clear indication of the speeds expected. Remember though that in order to cancel fee-free, the speed you’re getting must be significantly slower than you were told it would be. In other words, if it’s only marginally slower you may not be able to cancel without a fee.

Essentially, your provider will need to satisfy themselves that your problem is not fixable. They will also likely try to switch you to another package but you don’t have to accept the switch if you don’t want to.

Can I cancel my broadband for free if the price has gone up?

Sadly, the price of everything is going up at the moment and broadband is no exception. Earlier this year we saw many providers whacking up their prices, even by as much as 3.9% above CPI. It’s painful, but the fact is that as long as your broadband provider has let you know about the price increase at least 30 days before it takes effect, free cancellation is very unlikely.

The terms and conditions outlined in your broadband contract will include details about inflation-linked price increases. Usually, you will have agreed to these increases when you signed up - again, they may have been in the small print. You’ll only really be able to cancel if the price rises are higher than what is laid out in the terms and conditions.

I’m moving house and my broadband provider doesn’t cover my area. Can I cancel for free?

This will again depend on the terms and conditions of your broadband provider. If your provider can’t supply your existing broadband service in your new home you may be able to cancel for free.

You may also be able to cancel if you’re not getting the service you need, for example if your provider could supply fibre broadband at your old address but not your new one. However, even if they can only offer a slower service, if you decide to cancel you’ll probably still need to pay a termination fee.

What if none of these apply and I still want to cancel?

If none of the scenarios we’ve looked at apply to you, you should expect to pay a cancellation fee if you decide to terminate your broadband contract early. How much this will be depends on the provider, however it will usually be based on how much of your contract you have remaining. If your cancellation takes effect in the middle of a month, you’ll generally pay a prorated amount to cover the days you used. Again, check your terms and conditions and get in touch with your broadband provider if you’re not sure.

How do I cancel my broadband contract?

The best way is always to cancel in writing if possible, just so you’ve got a record. This could be by email or post. However, many broadband providers will also let you cancel via web chat or telephone. Bear in mind that if you haven’t heard back from your broadband provider within 8 weeks, you’re entitled to complain to an ombudsman. 

Own or run a small business and want a broadband contract that doesn’t tie you up in knots?

At bOnline we specialise in providing high speed broadband and VoIP services to small businesses across the UK. We understand that balancing cost against quality and broadband speed is paramount, along with award-winning customer support.

On top of that, we say long broadband contracts are unfair, which is why we don’t do them - plain and simple.

Why not take a look at our broadband packages or get in touch with our team on 0203 514 0498.

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