Cheap Broadband Issues You Might Be Caught By
Cheap broadband, and even expensive broadband, come with issues that you may not be prepared for. Of course as most people don’t actually read the terms and conditions properly, contracts are signed without prior knowledge of these issues. It is important that you are aware of these issues and how they will affect you. Being caught by these expensive add-ons and frustrating clauses can lead to additional costs and slower broadband than you were expecting.
Penalties for leaving
Many people say that you can always change your cheap broadband provider if you have a problem. While you can do this there are penalties due if this is done mid-contract. Generally you will have to wait until the end of your contract to switch, and financially waiting may actually be the best option. Very few providers will actually allow you to end your contract before time to move to a different provider. There are two ways that leaving penalties can come about. The first is through a set fee that is payable when you cancel the contract. The amount of this fee will vary depending on the provider. The other way is that the provider will let you out of the contract but you still have to pay the remainder of your contract.
If you are caught in this situation there are a couple of pretty bad solutions. This first is to pay the exit fee required and switch your provider. If you are required to pay out your contract you should determine how much this will actually cost. If the cost is acceptable then pay it and move on. You should only be charged what the provider would spend delivering the service so make sure you know your rights! The most commonly used solution is to wait out the contract and then change provider.
No contract cheap broadband deals
Cheap broadband providers often advertise broadband with no contract. This really seems a bit too good to be true and most of the time it is. These so called rolling contracts often end up costing you much more than if you signed a fixed contract. The reason for this is that providers need to make their money somewhere. In regards to rolling contracts they charge you more than their fixed contracts because they are giving you the option of leaving at any time. In fact most cheap broadband providers’ 12 month contracts will cost as little as 9 months on a no contract deal.
The solution to this is to do the numbers. Read all the small print for your rolling contract and add up what it would cost you over a period of time. Also look at the packages provided and see how long the contracts are. You may be better off taking the contract and paying an exit fee if you need to cancel it.
Excessive use clauses
Did you decide to go with the unlimited broadband option but find that if isn’t as unlimited as it seems? A lot of these deals will have clauses in their small print, which caps your usage. If you ignore the clause you may find you are penalised for it. Some providers will simply ask you to lower your overall usage so you remain within the cap they have set. However, if you exceed the cap, whether you were aware of it or not, you may be liable for monetary penalties. Other providers will not charge you additional costs but they will lower the speed of your internet. The most extreme cases of capped usage have ended with a contract being terminated by the provider.
If you are caught in this unlimited usage trap there are a few things you can do. The first would be to lower the amount of internet you are using. For some people this is simply not an option. These people may want to consider upgrading their contract to another package that has a higher cap. Virgin Media, for example, have different caps on their various unlimited packages. If you have reached the end of your contract you can always change providers and get a truly unlimited package.
Switching your broadband
Everyone makes it seem very easy to switch your broadband, and in principle it should be. However, something which is easy in principle is very rarely as easy in practise. ADSL is the cable network which provides most internet connections, and when you switch the providers issue MAC’s, or migration access codes. Improvements in technology have brought about LLU, or local loop unbundling technology. Providers in exchanges have placed this cheap technology and it makes migration much harder. With the use of these loops, migration now also causes a disruption in your connection. Additionally migration from the LLU of one provider to another will cost you. The cost can vary depending on the provider and whether any promotions are being run to incentivise your transition.
There really is no solution for people caught in this. If you are very sure that you want to change your provider you will have to pay the transfer fee. You could try waiting for promotions but that may take a while.
Poor service by the provider
There are times when providers do not give the best service. If this is something that continually happens you may want to see what your provider is doing. Some providers understand that they have problems and invest millions to try and remedy them. If your provider is not doing this you should look at switching providers. Unfortunately, if you have signed a contract you will incur fees if you try to terminate your contract.
If you are in this situation there is one option available if you do not want to incur fees. Reading through you contract you may be able to find a policy about service quality. Most contracts will have limited details on this but if they do provide bad service they are in breach of the agreement if they have set service level promises. If your provider has breached the contract you may be able to terminate the contract without the fees. It may be possible to argue implied breach of contract if they haven’t made set stipulations, but is that a route you really want to go down?
There are many issues with cheap broadband that you can be caught out with. Most of these issues do have solutions, but most solutions will cost you in cancellation fees.