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Oranges New Late Payment & Migration Charges
By: MarkJ - 30 November, 2006 (12:48 PM)

ADSLGuide has spotted a worrying bit of information on The Times website. Reportedly UK ISP Orange is to begin charging customers £5 for late bill payments and £12 for two or more migration code (MAC) requests:

The group, which has one million broadband customers, said that a charge for the switching code would apply only on repeat requests. The first application for a migration authorisation code, or “mac”, would continue to be free. The charge is targeted at customers who receive a code but allow the 30-day usage period to elapse, then request a new one.

A spokesman said: “Each time we have to generate a code it costs us.” The announcement is likely to face opposition from consumers, many of whom have found that the plethora of “free” broadband offers have not lived up to the hype.

In a letter to customers, Orange says: “You may want a ‘mac’ code, which will cost £12 to cover the processing fees. Don’t worry, we won’t charge you for the first one. Other than that, there’ll be no charge to close your account.

This is an interesting development, especially when you consider BT's recent move to effectively charge providers that don't use Ofcom's migration code (MAC) process (otherwise it's free):

A cessation charge is also set to be introduced where service providers order the termination of service on an end user’s line. This charge of £33.75 (ex VAT) reflects the input costs from Openreach. The cessation charge will not apply when a consumer wants to move from one service provider to another and both service providers use the MAC process. BT’s aim is to encourage more service providers to participate in the MAC process, which is designed to make it simpler for consumers to move from one service provider to another. The cessation charge will also not apply where there are bulk migrations to LLU.

Typically Ofcom is shortly to announce a new migration policy, which could easily cause further changes and developments in how switching broadband providers should be handled. Could ‘exit fees’ become the next price battlefield? We’ll have to wait for the regulators ruling.

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