How to complain about your broadband service
It’s important that know your consumer rights when you sign up for any service. Here’s all you need to know about making a complaint to your broadband provider, speed issues and cancelling your contract.
Broadband speeds and your consumer rights
Price and speed are the biggest drivers when switching broadband, but despite the advertised speeds, consumers rarely get the maximum speeds on offer, which can lead to disappointment.
Be aware that when you sign up for a broadband plan, the advertised speed is an ‘up to’ or average speed and not a guarantee of the speed you’ll get.
The speed you get depends on several factors, such as:
What to do if you're not getting the speeds you were expecting
- If your broadband is underperforming, carry out a speed test to check the download and upload speeds. Test at different times of the day to find your average speeds.
- Try some of our tips for slow broadband, but if you’re still unsatisfied, contact your provider. They may offer advice or provide you with different equipment.
- If the issue still isn’t resolved, shop around for a new plan when you’re out of contract, possibly with a different type of connection like fibre broadband. Not only could you get improved speeds, but you’ll also probably get a good introductory discount too.
Complaining to your broadband provider
All providers have a complaints process, so talk to customer services directly about any problems you’re having as a first step. They may offer a simple solution or advise you what to do next.
Here’s how to complain to your broadband provider and get a result:
- Contact your provider online, by phone, email or post - whichever works best for you
- Outline your complaint clearly with dates and supporting evidence
- Request a timeframe for the complaint to be resolved
- Include contact details so you can be updated on the complaint status
- Ask for a copy of your provider’s code of conduct, which sets out how they deal with complaints
- Follow up if you haven’t had a response within the specified timeframe
If your complaint’s taking too long to be resolved or isn’t resolved satisfactorily, you can escalate it to ComReg to take further action.
Cancelling your broadband
If you’re unable to resolve your complaint and are considering cancelling your contract and switching to a new broadband provider here’s what you need to know:
- There’s a 14-day cooling-off period on all broadband packages, so if you’re within this time period, you can cancel with no charge.
- Being outside the cooling-off period but within your contract’s minimum term, a cancellation charge will apply. This may be a set fee, or the cost of the remaining contract term.
- If your contract’s minimum term is up you can switch without penalty, but you’re still responsible for giving your provider the notice shown in your contract, when you want to cancel. This will ensure you’re not charged after you’ve moved to a new provider.
If you still have several months remaining on your contract, you should raise any issues with your provider first.
Some providers might notify customers when their contract is due to end, but they’re not legally obligated to. You can check your contract terms for the expiry date.
Reasons for leaving without penalty
If you can prove that you’re not receiving the service you signed up for, it’s possible you’ll be able to exit the contract without charge.
You can also leave your contract without charge if your provider changes the terms of your contract, for example, the monthly price increases.
Your rights when you switch to a new broadband provider
When you switch to a new provider, there’s a 14-day cooling-off period. In that time you can cancel without penalty if any aspect of the service doesn’t suit you.
If you decide to go ahead with the switch, there are a couple of things you need to do to protect your rights as a customer and reduce the chance of dispute.
- Remember to contact your current provider to ensure you’re free to switch
- Give them the required notice so that you’re not charged for what you don’t use
- Arrange a broadband service cut-off date
- Confirm an installation date with your new provider so you experience as little downtime as possible.
It’s unlikely that your phone service will be affected, but a loss of broadband service can sometimes occur temporarily during the switching process.
Once the switch happens, make sure you cancel any direct debits with your current provider.
Always read the terms and conditions of your chosen broadband plan before you switch providers. Check the fine print on data limits, cancellation fees and speed promises.
What happens if I go over my data limit?
When you sign up for a broadband deal, it will either be advertised as ‘unlimited’ or have a data limit attached to it.
Most standard broadband and fibre broadband plans offer unlimited data now, but satellite broadband and mobile broadband packages tend to have data limits.
If you go over the fair usage limit or your data limit, you may be charged per GB for doing so. If your provider doesn’t impose charges, they may restrict your service once you go over the limit, which can be frustrating and costly.
What if I've been overcharged for my broadband?
It’s important to check your bills because although rare, mistakes do happen, and maybe missed if you pay by direct debit.
If you do notice an issue with any of your bills, contact your provider immediately. They will rectify any issues and should refund you the next time you’re billed.
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