Cheap Business Broadband Contracts – Did The Small Print Fool You?

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Cheap Business Broadband ContractsA problem that most of us have is that we don’t look at the small print too carefully.  We often assume that all the important information will be provided and the small print is full of mere technicalities.  In fact recent research has shown that around 2 in every 5 people will not take note of this print.  The problem is that many cheap broadband providers use the small print to hide idiosyncrasies in their products.  Small print can often come back after signing the contract and cause major problems for you.

What can be contained in the small print?

Simply knowing that there is small print does not really help.  You need to be aware of what could potentially be hiding there so you can spot it.  Small print will often contain a combination of important information and irrelevant information.  Some details which can be hidden in the small print include how much the service will actually cost, changes that can be made to the service at the providers discretion, and various other terms and conditions.

Business broadband set up

Information about the costs of business broadband set up and installation are usually handled in the overview information.  Unfortunately the information in the overview is usually a general statement of there being a charge or not.  Providers do not regularly state what they are going to charge you in the big print.  The small print will hold the details of how much installation will cost you, what exactly you are paying for and when this must be paid.

Cost is not the only installation information contained in the terms and conditions.  The details regarding whether a technician is needed for installation, the setting of the date of installation and what is required for installation will all appear within the small print.  It is in the section that you will also find out if you are liable to be charged for an installation that is cancelled or rearranged.

The speeds of cheap broadband

Most people look at the speeds of the broadband being offered as the main selling point.  Businesses need to have fast upload and download speed to manage effectively.  The problem is that the providers are very aware of this and the manner of advertising these speeds is often convoluted.  The main advertisement will always detail the fastest speed possible based on what they are allowed to say,  because this is what sells.  It is only in the small print that you will find out what speed you are actually going to get; or worse still a week into having you connection.

The speed advertised is very rarely the speed you will actually achieve.  However, the small print in a contract can actually take away any responsibility from the provider.  The small print may state whether or not the provider has the right to vary your speed at their discretion and what your rights are if you do not get the advertised speed.  In many areas the infrastructure does not allow for the maximum speed and there is nothing you can honestly do about.  However, the provider can’t do much about it either because rolling out the cabling needed is a costly and lengthy process.  If you are unhappy with the speed and feel you cannot continue you may have the option of terminating your contract.  The small print in the contract will tell you whether or not you are required to pay an early termination fee, and how onerous it will be.

The price of your broadband

All businesses work on a budget and you may have set out a certain amount for your broadband.  If this is the case you need to pay very close attention to the small print.  This is where clauses are found which permit the provider to change the contract price.  These clauses generally give the provider free reign when it comes to changing the price mid-contract and whether you will be given notice before this happens.  In some cases if the price does become higher the small print allows you to terminate your contract early without incurring fees.

Internet usage caps

Certain cheap broadband packages will have a cap on usage of the internet. Some of the more expensive deals also have fairly restrictive usage limits despite being called “unlimited”. The cap relates to the amount of gigabytes used for downloading and uploading information.  When looking at capped usage you must keep in mind that any internet activity, from opening a web page to checking your email, will use up data and move you towards the cap.  The small print of a contract will contain all the details about the cap in your usage.  It will detail what happens when you reach your cap, and if you go over the cap.  In this print you will find out what the provider charges for access over your cap and whether or not you will be automatically placed on an increased cap plan.

Traffic management and fair usage

Business broadband customers will have preference over home package customers when it comes to traffic management.  However, you need to check the small print to see if there are any fair usage policies.  The small print will also tell you if traffic management will be carried out and which business packages will be given preference.

How to switch broadband

Many people think about switching their broadband provider.  However, you need to check the small print of your current contract to see what the implications are.  This is particularly important if you are looking to terminate your contract early.  The small print will detail information about what you need to get from your provider and what the process will be to inform your provider that you are no longer going to use them.

If you want to complain

There are times when all you can do is complain to your broadband provider about the service your business is receiving.  All providers have certain procedures, which need to be followed in the complaint department.  The small print is where you will find this information and the methods that can be used to contact your provider.

Read the small print…. It is important

Reading the small print is the only way that you can ensure you are getting the cheap broadband that you need, and are actually receiving great value for your money.  The small print will contain important information about costs, termination fees and the actual speeds you will receive.