There are many reasons for wanting to cancel your broadband contract, from poor customer service to slow speeds and poor reliability, or maybe you've just found a better broadband deal
elsewhere. This guide will tell you how to cancel a contract with each of the major providers in the UK, and whether there may be any fees involved.
Why would I want to cancel my broadband contract early?
There is a whole plethora of reasons as to why you may want or need to terminate your broadband contract early. These can range from you being disappointed with the speed of your connection, to being dissatisfied with the customer service of your chosen provider or moving home
and no longer needing your broadband contract.
Can I cancel my broadband contract early for free?
Probably not. There are few instances in which you may be entitled to cancel your contract without incurring a cancellation charge of some sort, but in most cases, you’ll be charged a fee. This is usually the cost of the remaining months on your contract, plus the cost of any equipment you’ve been given.
When can I cancel my broadband early for free?
Your provider has increased your bills
It’s quite common for broadband providers to hike your monthly fee
mid-contract - usually around once every 12 months. They will give you prior warning of any increase to your monthly bill. Once you have received this notice, you are within your rights
to cancel your service within 30 days without incurring any kind of penalty.
So, if you’re unhappy with the service you’re receiving, or you just fancy a better deal, this is the perfect opportunity to cut yourself loose without having to cough up a bit of cash for the privilege.
You are in your 2-week cooling off period
This one is fairly straightforward. If you purchase online, then you have 14 days as a ‘cooling off’ period. This means you can change your mind and cancel the contract without any fees within this time.
You have exceeded your minimum contract term
Once the minimum term for your contract has passed, you’re free to switch provider
without incurring a fee of any sort. It’s highly recommended that you do, as staying loyal to a provider rarely pays off financially. You’re much likely to get a better deal by jumping ship to someone else.
Your new provider has offered to pay your exit fees
In some cases, you may find that your new provider will actually reimburse you for the cost of terminating a contract with your current provider. It’s usually not a lot though - maybe enough to leave a month or two early.
Your provider has not resolved any issues (i.e. speed, connectivity, reliability)
According to Ofcom regulations, if your service provider has failed to correct a fault that has persisted for a period of time, you have the right to discontinue your service and switch to another provider.
It’s not a simple process though. It can often be hard to prove faults, and you won’t get much help from your provider either. You’ll need to keep a record of any issues and phone your provider each time. They will keep a record of your calls, which will help build your case.
If you still aren’t happy, you’ll need to contact either the Communications Ombudsman or the Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS) to explain your situation to them.
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How to make a complaint about your broadband provider
Your provider is legally obliged to take complaints seriously. The first step is for you to contact your provider’s customer service, tell them exactly what the problem is and what you want done about it. Your provider must respond to your issue within 5 days and fix it within 10.
If you want to escalate your complaint, you will need to contact either he Communications Ombudsman or the Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS). Your provider is required to be a member of one of the two, so who you contact will be dependent on this.
What are the processes for cancelling your contract with each provider?
The processes for cancelling your contract vary from one provider to the next. Here we’ve provided a brief summary of what you can expect to pay, and a link to the relevant information on the provider’s website.
You will almost certainly need to pay a cancellation charge if you want to leave BT early. That is, of course, unless one of the exemptions mentioned earlier apply to you. You’ll most likely have to pay a fee for each of the remaining months left on your contract, and you’ll also have to return any hardware e.g. BT Home Hub or Smart Hub, or end being charged for them too.
More info: How to cancel BT broadband.
A bit of maths is involved to calculate how much you’ll be charged by EE Broadband. Your monthly charge (excluding VAT) and 4% for early payment, will then be multiplied by the number of remaining months on your contract.
More info: How to cancel EE broadband.
If you want to leave your John Lewis broadband contract before it ends, you'll have to pay a cancellation fee based on the type of package you've got and the number of months remaining on your contract.
More info: How to cancel John Lewis broadband.
If you're on a rolling monthly contract with NOW, you're free to cancel and switch providers at any time. If you're on a 12-month contract, however, early termination fees will apply. How much you are charged depends on the type of package you're on and how long you've got left on your contract, with the total fee being rounded up to the nearest 25p.
More info: How to cancel NOW broadband
To cancel your Origin broadband contract before it ends you'll have to pay straightforward, albeit expensive, early termination charges. You will be charged the entire value of your remaining contract. You will also have to return your router or be charged a further £40.
More info: How to cancel Origin broadband.
Cancelling your Plusnet broadband contract early will incur a set fee, depending on the type of package you're on, multiplied by the number of months left on your contract. You also need to return any equipment they provided you with, including the router and any TV box, or face further charges.
More info: How to cancel Plusnet broadband.
Shell Energy Broadband
The amount you'll be charged for terminating your Shell Energy Broadband contract early depends on the package you're on and the length of time remaining on it, plus a fixed £15 fee for all customers.
More info: How to cancel Shell Energy Broadband.
Sky Broadband will charge an early termination fee if you opt to leave their service before the end of your contract. The amount you have to pay will depend on how many months are left on the contract. Additional subscriptions and payments made in advance will also be factored in to the cancellation fee. That means you’ll also be liable to pay for cancelling your Sky TV subscription (if you opted for that service).
More info: How to cancel Sky broadband.
Thanks to SSE's Broadband Happiness Guarantee, you're free to cancel your broadband package within the first 60 days of your contract. However, after this period you'll be charged an early termination fee to cancel, which is based on the number of days remaining on your contract up to a maximum of £243. You may also be charged a further £54 if you fail to return your router.
More info: How to cancel SSE broadband.
You will be charged by TalkTalk for both broadband and TV if you opt to leave their services early. You’ll be liable for all the remaining months left on the contract, plus the cost of any hardware (e.g. YouView box).
More info: How to cancel TalkTalk broadband.
You’ll be charged a fee for terminating your Virgin Media contract early. The fee will depend on how long you have left on your contract, and you may have to pay up to 80% of the value of the remainder of your contract. You’ll also be charged for cancelling your Virgin Media TV package too.
More info: How to cancel Virgin Media broadband.
The exact charge you'll face for leaving your Vodafone broadband contract early depends on the number of months it has left to run as well as the level of package you're on.
More info: How to cancel Vodafone broadband.
It’s safe to assume that for all other providers you’ll be charged an early exit fee of some sort if you want to end your contract early. This is usually the cost of the remaining months left on the contract, plus the cost of any equipment. To find out specifically how much you’ll be charged, search your provider’s website or speak to a customer service representative.