Advice: ‘Can I cancel my broadband contract due to unreliable service?’

Pat Hutchinson MBE.
Pat Hutchinson MBE.

By Pat Hutchinson MBE, District Manager, Newtownabbey CAB

Q: My broadband connection is really slow and unreliable. I’ve contacted my provider who has said I’ll need to pay more than £100 to cancel the contract. Is there anything I can do about this?

A: One of the main ways that you can get yourself a better broadband service is to switch supplier. It’s become much easier to switch broadband providers in recent years, which in turn has led to better deals for consumers. But, as you have experienced, some companies charge cancellation fees that can go into hundreds of pounds.

Most broadband contracts operate for a fixed term (12 or 18 months, for example), and users can be charged for prematurely ending the contract. It is therefore important to check the terms of your contract before entering the switching process.

If you are looking to move to another company because you are having problems with your broadband service, make sure you tell them about the problems. Record dates and times of the issues you have had, so you have evidence that shows why you’re ending the contract and switching. If you have already complained about these problems it is worth reminding the firm of that fact.

Anyone who has come up against poor quality service or unfair charges from their broadband provider or any other business, can get in touch with our Consumer Line helpline on 0300 123 6262 or get free, confidential and independent advice from their nearest Citizens Advice Bureau.

• Call Newtownabbey CAB, Dunanney Centre, Rathcoole on 028 9085 2271 or email