Under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations 1999 act all UK broadband ISPs are required to be clear, fair and up front with any extra charges they may levy against a customer. Ofcom also imposed its own set of guidelines during December 2008, which were designed to reinforce the message.Article Index:
Ofcom Chief Executive, Ed Richards said:
“When consumers shop around for the best deal, they should be able to easily assess the true cost of what’s on offer. We want to make sure that telecoms and pay-TV companies are up front about all their charges and, where there are small print charges, they must be fair.”
Sadly those hoping that the new guidelines might bring about a more transparent era of honesty among ISPs would probably be disappointed by today’s market. Frustrating though it is, some of the bad habits that existed pre-December 2008 continue to hold sway. If anything the fierce levels of competition have only served to push more ISPs into sweeping their costly little demons under a carpet of small print, in the hope that nobody will notice, until it’s too late.
As ever the most potent of all weapons in a consumer’s arsenal should be his or her individual knowledge. It is important never to underestimate just how much time, money and hassle can be saved merely by spending a few minutes researching a service before committing to it. The purpose of this article is to help you do just that by identifying many of the most common and confusing costs that ISPs could levy.
The Small Print
What follows is a simplified list of charges that ISPs sometimes tack on to a product or tuck away deep within small print (Terms and Conditions, Fair Usage Policies etc.) for use further down the contractual road. Sadly most consumers do not take the time needed to read them, which is understandable but also unwise.
T&C’s are a long, hard to read and confusing mess of waffle that not even your worst enemy should ever be subjected to. Unfortunately the ISP knows this too; it knows you would rather skip right to the end or have a nice drink than cast your gaze over its twaddle of small print, which is precisely why they will make such effective use of them.