Tips for cancelling a broadband contract early

There are many reasons why cancelling a broadband contract early may be advantageous, but it could be expensive if not handled correctly.

Friday, 25 June, 2021

Broadband has become an indispensable utility, but it’s not without its problems.

Over 30 per cent of British broadband customers are paying for services they’re not using, wasting almost £100 a year on average.

And while Ofcom data suggests 85 per cent of UK households are satisfied with their broadband service, that means over four million households aren’t.

Reasons for dissatisfaction can range from slow download speeds and poor customer service to unreliable connections or range issues surrounding ISP-supplied routers.

As such, cancelling a broadband contract early might seem like a prudent step. But before you do, there are one or things you should know.

Cost benefit analysis

If you’re still in a fixed contract period with your ISP, cancelling a broadband contract early could incur significant costs.

Indeed, these might equate to the sum total of all the bills you’re due to pay between now and the contract’s conclusion.

ISPs are reluctant to let people leave early because they need dependable income streams to maintain and improve their infrastructure and service.

And while it may benefit you to jump ship mid-contract for a better deal elsewhere, it certainly doesn’t benefit the ISP that’s loaned you a router and provided bandwidth every day.

However, there are a few things which can make cancelling a broadband contract early less costly – in the long run, if not immediately.

We consider these below.

Existing complaints

If you’re wanting to leave a broadband contract early because of problems with your service, address these in writing to your ISP.

Some faults are beyond their control, such as glitchy house wiring, and they might be relieved to sever ties with you rather than keep trying to resolve problems.

To use bad service as an excuse, you need a track record of complaints, alongside evidence that attempted resolutions haven’t worked. Check out our guide on how to handle a dispute with your broadband provider.

An impending house move

Moving house often provides a compelling reason to change your ISP, especially if the incumbent provider’s services aren’t available at your new address.

If your current line speed is going to drop dramatically at a new address, it’s worth asking your current provider to release you from an existing contract. They might say yes.

Ensure there are no hidden caveats – some providers add a disconnection fee even if you’re out of contract, while maintaining an ISP-hosted email account may incur costs after you leave.

Price hikes

ISPs are legally allowed to raise the monthly cost of a broadband contract, even midway through a fixed-term period.

And under Ofcom rules, you’re allowed to leave within 30 days of being notified without incurring a penalty.

If you’re already looking to depart, an announcement of increased monthly costs could be the escape clause you need.

Exit fee bonuses

This is the term used to describe a new ISP contributing towards the cost of your existing contract. It’s something many of the biggest providers offer, to tempt you onboard.

Compensation is generally paid retrospectively to you, rather than pre-emptively to your current supplier, so you’ll need to set aside any cancellation costs at the outset.

And while you may miss out on other incentives or special offers from the new provider, compensation (or even a referral fee) can soften the blow of exit charges.

Neil Cumins author picture


Neil is our resident tech expert. He's written guides on loads of broadband head-scratchers and is determined to solve all your technology problems!