Broadband providers that charge an exit fee, even if you're out of contract
Some broadband providers will still charge you to leave, even once your contract has finished. Is this really fair?
Contracts are standard practice these days. Whether you’re looking to own the latest smart phone or you want to boost your TV’s credentials with a satellite TV package, the likelihood is you’ll have to enter into a pretty lengthy contract in order to do so.
Providers want to ensure they have your loyalty and what better way to do that than make it almost impossible for you to leave them for 18 months or a two years?
Most of us are aware that once we’ve signed up for any kind of contract, we can expect to pay a redemption fee in order to leave it. It's standard practice. But what about once you're out of contract?
It stands to reason, surely, that once you’ve completed the time period you agreed to you should be free to leave?
But that’s not the case, it seems, when it comes to broadband providers.
Charging out of contract customers to leave
As well charging hefty fees to customers who want out during their contracted 18-month to two-year period, BT is among the culprits charging an exit fee to customers even after their contract has ended. And this is on top of having to give a month’s notice, meaning leaving your telecoms provider could prove a costly affair.
A spokesman for BT says: “The Broadband Cease Charge is a charge raised in certain circumstances to cover the additional cost to BT of the work required within an exchange to recover equipment and amend records when a broadband line is ceased.”
According to BT the fee of £30 is charged when you “switch to another broadband provider without following the standard Migration Authorisation Code (MAC) process, switch to a cable provider, cease your broadband completely or cease your broadband and move outside of the UK”.
It's not just BT
Plusnet has a similar policy.
A spokesperson told us: “Plusnet charges a £25 cancellation fee for customers leaving their broadband contract without using a MAC (migration authorisation code) i.e. if they are leaving the BT network altogether. This fee is charged automatically when a customer leaves us for another provider that does not use the same infrastructure as Plusnet, i.e. Virgin and covers the cost of disconnection of the equipment. This also includes customers on no contract options.
“No cancellation fee is charged if a customer leaves us using a MAC to join a provider that is on the same infrastructure as Plusnet, i.e. BT. This also applies to customers on no contract options”.
But not all providers charge a cessation fee.
Talk Talk says it only charges people for terminating their broadband service when they are still in contract, while Sky also says there are no charges outside of the minimum term.
Is this fair?
So is it fair for providers like BT to charge customers, even when they are no longer in contract? According to Ofcom it is.
“The ‘cease charge’ is a wholesale charge which applies when a broadband service is simply disconnected,” says a spokesperson. “Ofcom does not regulate the retail prices charged by providers and it is therefore a commercial decision for the provider as to whether that charge is passed on to its customers.”
What do you think? Is it right that you can still be charged an exit fee, once the contract has come to an end? Should there be a standard practice that all providers follow? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below.
Compare broadband packages in your area with broadbandchoices.co.uk