Your Broadband Consumer Rights

Monday, 5 September, 2016

If you buy something in a shop and you don’t want it or it breaks, you have the right to return it. Even if you download an app and it doesn’t work as advertised you have a right to a refund, but what about a broadband contract?
Just like almost all purchases made in the UK, you have a set of consumer rights when signing a service contract. These have recently been renewed to give you even more control. In light of the update, we’ve compiled this post so you know exactly what to expect…

Price Rises

If you agree to pay one price for a service and it increases, you can be left feeling pretty miffed. Ofcom have luckily recognised this. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) must give 30 days notice of any price changes. If you’re aren’t satisfied with the increase you have the right to cancel your contract, penalty free. This has to be done within that 30-day window or else you will be liable for cancellation fees.

Poor Service

Even if the price hasn’t changed, you may be able to escape your contract if the level of service is unacceptable. Just like consumers are obliged to meet monthly payments, providers must also deliver the service paid for. If installation took longer than estimated, your speed is slower than advertised or the connection is intermittent, then you have the right to cancel the contract without paying a charge. You will need to build up a case file with detailed evidence including dates of errors, recorded audio or photographic evidence.

Other Rights

The two issues outlined above are the most concerning for consumers but there are several other rights you have when you sign a broadband contract. Firstly, the contract between you and the provider must be fair, meaning there cannot be unnecessary charges or agreements.
You have the right to cancel your contract at any point. However, a fee could be payable if you have no legitimate reason to cancel and are still within your initial contract period.
Broadband providers must be signed up to an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme. This way if you have a complaint to make about its service you can contact the independent dispute resolution team, who will handle it.
Remember we’re a broadband comparison site, so before entering any legal proceedings with your ISP make sure you speak to a solicitor or a body such as the Citizens Advice Bureau or Ofcom.