Home » 

UK ISP News Archives

 » 
Sponsored

Consumer Group Claims BT Breaking UK Law over Rolling Contracts

Posted: 24th Feb, 2010 By: MarkJ
consumer problemsConsumer magazine Which? has claimed that BT's renewable broadband and phone contracts could be breaking the law on distance selling regulations by "not providing sufficient cancellation rights when existing customers sign up to renewable contracts over the phone". In a related study Which? Also found that most people weren’t aware of how much it would cost to cancel their contract early.

The magazine reports that BT does not give written details of cancellation rights to existing customers signing up to a new renewable deal by phone until, according to BT Terms and Conditions (T&Cs), it's too late for them to cancel without charge. Which? believes this puts BT in breach of UK distance selling regulations.

Peter Vicary-Smith, CEO of Which?, says:

"We think BT is pulling a fast one by not ensuring some customers have a cooling off period. We are encouraging it to formally add appropriate cancellation rights to its contracts as soon as possible."

Which? aren't the only group that has a problem with BT's practice. Arch rival TalkTalk UK was also quite vocal about their feelings last year (here), which they have recently reiterated.

TalkTalk's Andrew Heaney told ISPreview in March 2009:

"We would like to see these unfair rolling contracts stamped out and have already called upon Ofcom to take a firm line in this area. BT cynically places the onus on its customers to cancel their contracts – simply because it knows that many of them will simply forget."

However BT claims that it has no intention of disadvantaging customers who have genuinely misunderstood what they have been told or those that change their mind by the time they receive a confirmation letter.

The operator says that in this situation, it allows customers to end their contract without an early termination fee, provided they call to request this within the first few days. Interestingly BT is only now considering formally adding this right to its contract terms and confirmation letters.

Ironically on the same day that Which? published these findings it also praised BT in a similar article examining home phone contract cancellation fees. Which? asked nearly 2,000 of its members about their home phone and broadband contracts in late 2009, it found that most people weren’t aware of how much it would cost to cancel their contract early.
FAIL - on the Orange, TalkTalk, Utility Warehouse and Virgin Media websites researchers couldn’t locate the relevant terms within 10 minutes.

FAIL – on the AOL, Sky and Tesco websites researchers found the relevant terms but terms weren’t clear in explaining how much a customer would have to pay.

PASS – on the BT, Plusnet and Post Office websites researchers were able to locate terms and work out how much they’d need to pay.
Which? telecoms expert, Ceri Stanaway, says:

"A long contract with termination fees is the price we pay for a good deal – but cancellation terms should be fair, easy to find and clear. A summary box of additional charges, including cancellation fees – like that used in the credit card industry – would be a step in the right direction."

Researchers looked at home phone or phone/broadband bundle cancellation terms for AOL , BT , PlusNet , the PostOffice , Orange , Sky Broadband , TalkTalk , Tesco , Utility Warehouse and Virgin Media UK. BT, PlusNet and Post Office website researchers were able to locate terms and work out how much they’d need to pay. Overall, BT’s terms were the easiest to find and understand.
 Latest UK ISP News
 Cheapest Superfast Broadband ISPs
  • Hyperoptic £17.99
    Speed 33Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Shell Energy £19.99
    Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • NOW £20.00
    Speed 36Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Virgin Media £20.00
    Speed 54Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Vodafone £22.00
    Speed 38Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
Large Availability | Compare More ISPs
 Cheapest Ultrafast Broadband ISPs
  • Gigaclear £17.00
    Speed: 200Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Community Fibre £20.00
    Speed: 150Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Hyperoptic £22.00
    Speed: 158Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Virgin Media £24.00
    Speed: 108Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Vodafone £25.00
    Speed: 100Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
Large Availability | Compare More ISPs
Promotion
Cheapest Superfast ISPs
  • Hyperoptic £17.99
    Speed 33Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Shell Energy £19.99
    Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • NOW £20.00
    Speed 36Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Virgin Media £20.00
    Speed 54Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Vodafone £22.00
    Speed 38Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
Large Availability | View All
Cheapest Ultrafast ISPs
  • Gigaclear £17.00
    Speed: 200Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Community Fibre £20.00
    Speed: 150Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Hyperoptic £22.00
    Speed: 158Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Virgin Media £24.00
    Speed: 108Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Vodafone £25.00
    Speed: 100Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
Large Availability | View All
Helpful ISP Guides and Tips
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
Promotion
The Top 20 Category Tags
  1. FTTP (4113)
  2. BT (3151)
  3. Politics (2117)
  4. Building Digital UK (2026)
  5. Openreach (1969)
  6. FTTC (1922)
  7. Business (1832)
  8. Mobile Broadband (1605)
  9. Statistics (1510)
  10. 4G (1378)
  11. FTTH (1371)
  12. Virgin Media (1277)
  13. Ofcom Regulation (1241)
  14. Wireless Internet (1233)
  15. Fibre Optic (1233)
  16. Vodafone (926)
  17. EE (905)
  18. 5G (898)
  19. TalkTalk (821)
  20. Sky Broadband (787)
Sponsored

Copyright © 1999 to Present - ISPreview.co.uk - All Rights Reserved - Terms  ,  Privacy and Cookie Policy  ,  Links  ,  Website Rules