FAQ Friday: I want to cancel my broadband contract but can’t get through to the service provider – what can I do?
July 30, 2021
Each month, we share the answer to one of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) from the hundreds of consumers who contact us. For this FAQ Friday, we take a look at your rights when it comes to cancelling contracts with online service providers.
Q: I recently signed up to a new broadband package through an online store. A few days later I realised that the new package did not meet my needs and wanted to cancel. I rang their helpline multiple times. I am often left waiting on hold for hours but can never get through. I now only have two days left of my 14 day right to cancel. What can I do?
When you sign up to a service online, you have a number of rights under the Consumer Rights Directive, including the right to change your mind and cancel your contract within the first 14 days from when you sign up, without having to pay a penalty, or cancellation fee.
You do not have to give any reason for cancelling, but it is important to bear in mind you may have to pay for the cost of returning any equipment to the broadband provider, which in this case may be items such as a modem, cable wires and attachments. If you choose to cancel, the service provider is legally obliged to refund you within 14 days. The refund must also include any delivery costs that you had to pay.
Under consumer protection law, online service providers must outline the cancellation process to you in advance and also ensure there is a clear and easy way of contacting them for you to exercise your right to cancel within the 14 day timeframe. This means they are not allowed to make it difficult for you to notify them that you wish to cancel your contract. Where an online service provider insists that you call a helpline in order to cancel your contract, then they must provide this service.
Online service providers must also detail their contact information on their website, including an email address. This is to ensure that you have a clear and easy way of communicating with them where, for example, you cannot get through to speak to someone via their helpline number. Alternatively, you can send a letter by post or even a fax, clearly stating that you wish to cancel your contract. In all cases, you should act fast, so be sure to notify them as soon as possible within the 14 days.
It’s important to keep a record of all communications you have with the service provider, in case something goes wrong. Remember to keep a log of all phone calls made to the helpline and any emails sent or received. If you choose to send a letter, be sure to send it by registered post, for your records.
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