Switch broadband more easily!
Moving to a new broadband provider can sometimes be an uphill struggle, but follow this simple guide to smooth switching.
We're getting into the habit of switching to better broadband deals at last. That's thanks to more keenly priced services, the introduction of free broadband offers and cheaper bundled packages. What's more, rules introduced by telecoms watchdog, Ofcom, now stop providers from sneakily dragging their heels when you want to leave.
True, broadband is faster and cheaper than ever, but many of us still aren't happy with our provider. If you've decided enough is enough, there's no real reason why you shouldn't change. But before you do, read these simple steps:
1. Check the terms and conditions of your current deal
First of all, check whether you're still within the original contract period. You'll probably find your contract runs for at least 12 or 18 months. If not, great! You're free to do as you please.
But if you're still tied in, take a look at the cancellation policy. It may turn out the charge you face for getting out early outweighs the money you could save by switching. Alas, if the penalties are too heavy you may prefer to stay put until the end of your contract.
2. What if you need to get out of your contract now?
Has your provider fallen foul of your service agreement? If so, you might be able to leave your current contract early.
If your broadband keeps letting you down, make sure you keep a record every time you encounter difficulties and keep notes on the customer service you receive. Rates to customer service call centres can be shockingly expensive, so keep track of how much you have had to shell out just to fix the problem.
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This information can strengthen your case for getting out of your contract early and freeing you up to switch somewhere else.
3. Renegotiate your deal
If you have had the same broadband deal for some time, the chances are it now lags behind its competitors and you could be left paying over the odds.
The vast majority of us don't even consider renegotiating with our provider but half of those who do are successful. Prices have fallen significantly in the last couple of years so you may be able to get the same deal at a cheaper price without having to switch at all.
Your provider should be keen to keep your business so there's no harm in asking.
4. Check out all the costs
Before you switch, make sure you check out the total costs for your new deal.
You may have to pay a connection fee and line rental on top of your monthly charge. Find out how much calls to the customer service call centre and technical support cost if anything goes wrong. This can range from nothing to an extortionate 50p per minute. If your new deal has a download limit, are there any penalties for exceeding it? Some providers may charge you extra while others may restrict your speed limit during peak hours. Some could even suspend or, worse still, terminate your service.
5. Think about service
Cost is important but good customer service should also be high on your list of priorities. Do your research and read the reviews before you take the plunge.
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That said, it's difficult to measure service since customer experience appears to vary greatly with the same provider. If you're really concerned you may get stuck with poor service consider a broadband package with no contract so you can easy move on if you need to.
6. Don't be pushed around
Now Ofcom has tightened the rules surrounding broadband switching, providers are obliged to give you a MAC (migration authorisation code) within five business days which your new supplier must then accept to switch you over. In the past some providers were guilty of trying to prevent you from leaving by withholding the code.
If you have any problems with the switch or your old provider appears to be taking its time unnecessarily, complain to Ofcom. It's a good idea to tell your provider you'll be reporting them to Ofcom too. This may just have some sway.
Now you know what to think about, here's a quick rundown of the switching process:
- Contact your current supplier and ask for a MAC
- Don't cancel your account at this stage because that could leave you with no broadband connection at all
- Use a broadband comparison service to find a new deal such as BroadbandChoices.co.uk
- Sign up online with your new provider and give them your MAC
- Get a date when the switch will be complete. This shouldn't take more than a couple of weeks
- Cancel your old account
- Enjoy your new, better value broadband!