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Citizens Advice claim broadband customers are 'held captive'

Broadband customers in the UK are having to pay fees of up to £625 to change their supplier early, even if they have experienced slow speeds, persistence faults or consistently bad customer service.

By on August 01, 2014 at 13:00 PM
Citizens Advice claim broadband customers are 'held captive'

Early cancellation policies are often put in place by broadband advisors to ensure the high initial cost of supplying a connection is reclaimed. The fees are generally the total of your remaining monthly payments, however some can be as high as £625. Unfortunately, this also means that customers having a bad experience with their provider are forced to keep using a poor service in order to avoid paying the fees.

Citizens Advice recently analysed 3,300 internet and broadband problems reported in England and Wales, and found 1 in 5 problems were about cancellations and withdrawal. These included a man in his 70s who was charged over £200 for trying to cancel a service that had stopped working all together and a woman who was hit with a cancellation fee despite her service being so slow she frequently had to use a local internet cafe.

The UK watchdog is now calling for all broadband providers to stop issuing cancellation fees to customers with "persistent" problems. Improved customer service surrounding the issue was also called for, along with more care of which fees are passed over to debt collection agencies.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

People are finding themselves held captive by bad broadband services. Some consumers who have stood up to problem suppliers have found themselves being punished for switching when they've been hit with a cancellation fee that is then passed over to a debt collection agency.

Internet service providers must not shackle customers seeking a better service with unreasonable fees that can turn into shock debt. All internet users need to be able to easily have a way out of inadequate contracts and broadband speeds that only give them daily frustration.

For a better understanding of your rights when you switch providers, why not call our switching support service? Just call 0800 542 4704 free for all the information you need to switch to a better broadband service.

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