How to leave broadband, TV or mobile devices without a penalty

Even if you are at the minimum term of your contract, you may be able to leave the penalty without paying

BT customers may be about to see their rockets firing, after Chief Executive Gavin Patterson said the company is no longer focused on competing with ultra-low rivals for new businesses.

This comes after frustration for Virgin Media customers, when 10 UKTV channels were discarded after a dispute between the two firms, and then rumors circulated that some ITV channels would also be eliminated.

If you are with Virgin or BT, it is possible to switch to a different provider without paying a fine, even if it is still in a contract.

Even if you are at the minimum term of your contract, you may be able to leave the penalty without paying

Even if you are at the minimum term of your contract, you may be able to leave the penalty without paying

When you subscribe to a broadband, television or telephone contract, you are agreeing to pay for a service for a certain period of time.

If the service provided is not what you agreed, the Internet speed is much lower than advertised, you do not get the channels you paid or the broadband is cutting, for example, you can leave the penalty free.

This also applies if a supplier raises prices halfway through his contract, which generally happens annually with most large suppliers.

Here we explain how you can get out of a contract early, why you should always bargain for the price you are paying and how to file a complaint if you are not happy.

If you are out of your minimum contract term

If the minimum period of your contract has ended, whether for television, telephone, broadband or a smartphone, you can leave whenever you want.

Most of the cheaper deals are reserved for new customers, so you're likely to get a better deal by switching to a different provider.

Your contract will tell you the amount of notice you must give in order to change, but it is usually 30 days.

If you are still in your contract term

Most packages of broadband, television or telephone have a contract of minimum duration that is usually 12 or 18 months.

During this time, it is much more difficult to leave the provider without paying a penalty, which can sometimes be the remainder of the contract cost.

However, there are scenarios in which you will be allowed to leave. Here we have listed the most common.

At any point in your contract you can try to haggle at a lower price with your supplier

At any point in your contract you can try to haggle at a lower price with your supplier

At any point in your contract you can try to haggle at a lower price with your supplier

My provider has increased the price of my broadband, phone or TV package

Price increases are often announced and when this happens, customers are usually allowed to leave a provider without paying a fine. If it is a TV package, landline or broadband, you should be able to leave if a price increase is announced.

The provider will contact you to inform you how much the price goes up and how you can go. Generally, you will be given a time frame in which you must give notice before you can switch to a new provider.

If it is a mobile phone contract, there are different rules. This is because mobile telephony providers can raise prices in line with the retail price index for inflation, even if it is halfway through the contract.

This will be detailed in the terms and conditions when you draw a phone contract, but if the price increase is more than the inflation rate, you may be able to leave. Your provider will inform you of the contract amount and give you details on how to leave if you can.

Our broadband keeps cutting and it's not as fast as we expected it to be

If you have problems with the speed of your broadband, the first thing you should do is verify the actual speed you receive and take note of this.

There is a series of free broadband speed tests, like this one from Broadband Choices, and once you've found your speed, compare this with what you're meant to get.

If it is significantly different, you can file a complaint with your broadband provider. Tell him the difference in speeds and ask him to correct the problem.

Within your contract, there will be details about when there may be compensation for extended periods when broadband is shrinking.

Your provider should be able to solve the problem, especially if it is caused by something like a broken router, and if you can not, you should discount the price, offer compensation or let it go without a fine.

If you do not agree and you have filed an official complaint, then you have eight weeks to respond. If you have not done so at the time, or you are not satisfied with the response you received, you can aggravate the problem.

All broadband providers must subscribe to an alternative dispute resolution scheme with CISAS or Ombudsman Services: Communications. It will analyze your case independently and, if it fails in your favor, you could ask the broadband provider to pay you for the money you have lost.

You can also tell the provider to pay you for additional costs, such as time spent on the phone or money spent accessing the Internet through alternative means, such as with a protection device.

All broadband providers must subscribe to an alternative dispute resolution scheme with CISAS or Ombudsman Services: Communications

All broadband providers must subscribe to an alternative dispute resolution scheme with CISAS or Ombudsman Services: Communications

All broadband providers must subscribe to an alternative dispute resolution scheme with CISAS or Ombudsman Services: Communications

I move from home but they told me that I can not take my provider with me

In most cases, if you move into your home, you should be able to take your provider with you if it is available in the new house. The only instance in which you can be charged is if you move to your home, the service is available in the new home, but you decide to change providers.

The only provider we know that does not allow this is Virgin Media. It often charges customers if they move home and their service is not available in the new home.

He is currently being investigated by Ofcom to see if these rates are unfair. In an initial publication, Ofcom said that Virgin had overcharged customers and that the official response should be published soon.

We have received news from readers who have managed to get out of their contract without paying this fee. They have done so by contacting Virgin and telling her that the rate is unfair and asking her to resign. You can find all the details of this in our article on how to beat Virgin Media's exit fee.

Some of the channels I pay for are disappearing

Virgin Media is currently in a dispute with UKTV and 10 channels were removed from its service last weekend, including Dave and Gold.

The terms and conditions of the contract mean that if you retire early, you may have to pay a penalty. This could be a fixed amount or the rest of the contract, depending on when you signed up and the reasons to leave.

If your broadband service is not as fast as you were told it would be, you should complain

If your broadband service is not as fast as you were told it would be, you should complain

If your broadband service is not as fast as you were told it would be, you should complain

However, if this is the situation, it is worth asking Virgin to waive the fine. Contact him and explain that he is leaving due to the loss of channels, and request the exemption from the fee.

If Virgin Media refuses to let you leave, or if you offer an alternative that is not appropriate, you may complain. You can file a complaint directly through your official complaint process and then have eight weeks to respond.

The customer service is dreadful with my provider

The provider who has most complained during the last two quarters has been Talk Talk, and the main reason for the complaints was that there were service failures followed by a failure to handle complaints properly.

If you have problems with your provider's customer service, you must file a complaint directly.

It is best to keep a note of the communications you have received, including emails, letters or phone calls. If you can not solve your problem satisfactorily, you can refer the complaint to an alternative dispute resolution scheme.

Is it worth it to bargain for a better deal?

You can try to bargain with your provider at any time, whether you are in the minimum term contract with him or not.

If you are successful, you may be able to lower the price of your contract, or give you something extra for free, and stay with the same provider.

The first thing you should do is investigate what other providers are offering and at what price. Then, contact your provider and ask what he or she is willing to offer.

If, for example, your price is about to go up or if you have had a problem with the service, request that the price drop or give you something additional, such as a free upgrade to a more expensive service.

If you agree, it is up to you to accept the offer or not, and if not, you can leave, if you are outside the minimum contract period.

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