The majority of us have signed up for contracts at one time or another, whether for broadband, TV, streaming services or phone services. Contracts are growing ever longer, with many reaching 24-months or more. However, what if providers don’t offer the service you want or expect, or your circumstances change?
There are many reasons why you might want to cancel a service. Here are some tips to ensure you’re armed with the right information to avoid a struggle.
Are you in the cooling-off period?
If you’ve recently signed up to a contract, you may be within your rights to cancel it without incurring any charges. Check your terms and conditions, as cooling-off periods vary, although they are typically around 14 days for utility contracts.
Check your contract
Look out for hidden clauses and cancellation charges. Ideally, you’d do this when you take out a contract.
You’ll typically be tied into a minimum contract period, such as 12 or 18 months. If you try to cancel before this date, your provider may try to charge you for the entire period.
Otherwise, you may have to wait until the minimum term of your contract has expired to give notice.
When you do, keep copies and send this in writing, and email. Some providers make a point of stipulating they want a particular form of notice, so don’t give them this wriggle room.
Find out how to get out of a broadband contract
Check your rights
It sounds like there’s no option but to wait until the end of your contract term, but there may be get out clauses so check your rights. For example, if you have a poor mobile signal at home you have rights under the Supply of Goods and Services Act. You could terminate your contract for non-performance.
Likewise, if you face a sudden mid-contract price rise, you should have 30 days’ notice and be able to end the contract without penalty during this period.
What can you do if your broadband service isn't working?
Consider a better deal
Before deciding to cancel, check out what offers you can get elsewhere. If you’re happy with these, and they’re competitive, make a note of their details. You could use them to haggle for a better deal with your current provider so you don’t have to face the hassle of switching.
Read our guide to switching broadband provider
If you’re determined that you’re leaving, write down your reasons in case any persuasive tactics are used to get you to stay.
No matter what the service rep says, stress you’ve given your notice in accordance with your contract, and you won’t change your mind. Remember, they’re just doing their job and it’s not personal.
Finally, ask for written confirmation that your contract has been cancelled. If you still have problems, go through your service provider’s official complaints procedure, and then consider taking this to the particular regulator. Find more details at www.ofcom.org.uk.