Broadband consumer rights
For any product you buy or service you sign up to it’s important that know your consumer rights. Here’s all you need to know about cancelling your broadband contract, speed issues and making a complaint to your broadband provider.
Cancelling your broadband
If you’ve got a broadband plan you’re not happy with and are considering cancelling the package 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.
Reasons for leaving without penalty
If you can prove that you’re not receiving the service you signed up to, 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.
Complaining to your broadband provider
All providers have a complaints process, so talk to the provider directly about the issue and a resolution may be easily found. Here’s how to complain to your broadband provider and get a result:
- You can contact most providers online, by phone, email or post. Choose the method that works best for you.
- Outline your complaint clearly, and include contact details so you can be updated on the complaint status.
- Request a timeframe for the complaint to be resolved.
- Request a copy of your provider’s code of conduct, which will set 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.
Broadband speeds and your consumer rights
Broadband speeds are a tricky one. Be aware that when you sign up to a plan, the advertised speed is an ‘up to’ or average speed, and not a guarantee of the speed you’ll actually get.
The speed you get depends on a number of factors, such as:
- The type of broadband you have
- Whether you’re using a wired or WiFi connection
- The distance from your home to the nearest cabinet or ‘exchange’ (unless you have a Fibre-to-the-Home connection)
What to do if you’re not getting the speed you paid for
If your broadband is really underperforming in terms of speed, you should carry out a speed test to check the download and upload speeds you’re getting.
Do a few tests at different times of the day to find out what speeds are like on average and refer to our guide on broadband speeds in Ireland for extra information.
You could improve your speeds using some of our tips for people with slow broadband, but if you’re still not satisfied, you should contact your provider. They may be able to offer suggestions 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.
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.
What to do if you’ve been overcharged for your 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 next time you’re billed.
What happens if you’ve gone over your broadband limit
When you sign up for a broadband deal, it will either be advertised as ‘unlimited’ or have a data limit attached to it.
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.
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.
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