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Supanet £35 cease charge

Forty45

Member
Hello, I have finally got my act together to leave Supanet and move to Plusnet.
I am not in a contract period with Supanet, and just signed up with Plusnet to let them arrange the transfer. As in this thread (which moves on to other issues after the first 4 posts) https://www.ispreview.co.uk/talk/threads/supanet-cancellation.34754/ I wasn't expecting Supanet to be exactly gracious, and they haven't disappointed.
They expect me to pay a £35 "cease charge" immediately, but then say it will be in the final bill;

Amount Immediately Payable

The amount currently outstanding on your Supanet account is £35.00. If you have terminated your contract during the contract minimum period, you are liable for an early termination charge (ETC). This charge, calculated in accordance with our terms and conditions, is shown below.

Outstanding charges: £35.00
ETC: £0.00
Total Payable: £35.00

To the extent that this amount has not already been paid by you using an agreed payment method, please contact us as soon as possible on 01282214555. Failure to make payment may result in you incurring additional charges and action being taken against you to recover the amounts owing.

Broadband Cease Fee

You will be liable to pay a broadband cease fee (currently £35.00) in the following circumstances:
  1. Where you switch to a Cable provider (with a different network);
  2. Where you switch to another broadband provider without following the standard industry transfer process*;
  3. Where you cease your broadband service completely;
  4. Where you cease your broadband and move outside of the UK.

*This requires you to contact your new provider.

This is a charge that reflects the charge imposed by BT in these circumstances and will be added to your final bill.

The fee is mentioned in a letter they sent me in 2017, but only refers to these circumstances;
Where you switch to a Cable provider,
Where you cease your broadband service completely.

I've spoken to Ofcom. The person wasn't familiar with such a charge but did say it must be a commercial decision. they suggested I raise it as a complaint with Supanet.
I've also checked with Plusnet. I was told they don't do it, but couldn't pick up the cost or get it waived by BT.

Should I complain and stick to my ground on this, or are they in a strong position and am I ultimately likely to have to pay it? I'm quite happy to take them on if I've a reasonable prospect of success, but having read about these shysters and endured them for a long time I know it won't be easy, and if paying £35 gets rid of them I'd rather do that than endure years of pissing about with them.

Thanks in advance.
 

dabigm

Top Member
If I understand correctly, your contract has expired right ? So you are on a rolling basis? Therefore they've got no right to charge you an early termination fee.... however, they may require a notice period which you have to give them (usually 30 days) before termination. Have you given notice?

I'm not a lawyer, but im pretty sure that they cannot charge you an early termination fee if you're not under contract with them and are on a rolling basis... but they can ask you to give notice before terminating.

If you do pay it, open a complaint with them and say you are "paying under protest". Otherwise you risk the debt collectors etc. You have to wait 8 weeks before you can open a case with the ombudsman and you have to show that you have opened a complaint with the ISP and it has not been resolved or they've sent you a "deadlock letter".

If it were me, this is what I would do. Open a complaint ASAP with them, state you are not under contract and you don't believe you owe them an early termination charge and to confirm that this is not required / will not be present on your bill. If you get nowhere ask them to escalate it (thus proving to ofcom you've done your best). If the charge does appear, pay it.. but as I said email and say you're paying under protest, screenshot EVERYTHING and keep all the emails/correspondence.

It's free and easy to open a case with Ofcom. But they are going to ask for proof, correspondence, screenshots etc. Your ISP sounds particularly nasty...
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
So you're moving from Supanet to Plusnet, thus I can't see how any of the reasons given between 1 and 4 would apply here. You are not ceasing the service, you are following the accepted switching process that applies across Openreach's platform. Or did you contact Supanet first and tell them you were cancelling? Still, even if you did, an ETC should not apply outside of contract as it's not an "early" termination (unless they sneakily put you on another contract).

I think I'd challenge the charge first via a complaint, but if there's a deadline on its payment then I might also be inclined to pay it, but at the same time keep my complaint open and take it through the ADR process after 8 weeks, unless they resolve it first. This will cost Supanet a heck of a lot more than £35 if they let it go to ADR, but it'll be free for you.

 

Forty45

Member
If I understand correctly, your contract has expired right ? So you are on a rolling basis? Therefore they've got no right to charge you an early termination fee.... however, they may require a notice period which you have to give them (usually 30 days) before termination. Have you given notice?

I'm not a lawyer, but im pretty sure that they cannot charge you an early termination fee if you're not under contract with them and are on a rolling basis... but they can ask you to give notice before terminating.

If you do pay it, open a complaint with them and say you are "paying under protest". Otherwise you risk the debt collectors etc. You have to wait 8 weeks before you can open a case with the ombudsman and you have to show that you have opened a complaint with the ISP and it has not been resolved or they've sent you a "deadlock letter".

If it were me, this is what I would do. Open a complaint ASAP with them, state you are not under contract and you don't believe you owe them an early termination charge and to confirm that this is not required / will not be present on your bill. If you get nowhere ask them to escalate it (thus proving to ofcom you've done your best). If the charge does appear, pay it.. but as I said email and say you're paying under protest, screenshot EVERYTHING and keep all the emails/correspondence.

It's free and easy to open a case with Ofcom. But they are going to ask for proof, correspondence, screenshots etc. Your ISP sounds particularly nasty...
Correct, contract has expired.
I didn't give the 30 days notice period, which they have also mentioned (I wasn't aware I needed to). When a woman called from Supanet trying to interest me in staying (haha) I asked her if Plusnet moved the change date back so there was 30 days notice she said the £35 would still have to be paid.
Thanks for your advice, which makes sense. Yes, you don't want to deal with them, everything is positioned as if they are doing you a favour, but if you don't take it they get funny quickly.
 

Forty45

Member
So you're moving from Supanet to Plusnet, thus I can't see how any of the reasons given between 1 and 4 would apply here. You are not ceasing the service, you are following the accepted switching process that applies across Openreach's platform. Or did you contact Supanet first and tell them you were cancelling? Still, even if you did, an ETC should not apply outside of contract as it's not an "early" termination (unless they sneakily put you on another contract).

I think I'd challenge the charge first via a complaint, but if there's a deadline on its payment then I might also be inclined to pay it, but at the same time keep my complaint open and take it through the ADR process after 8 weeks, unless they resolve it first. This will cost Supanet a heck of a lot more than £35 if they let it go to ADR, but it'll be free for you.

Thanks for your advice. I did think they had tried to cover everything, but not worded it exactly correctly if that is what they were trying to do (in which case they could have just said if you ever leave for whatever reason).
I didn't give them notice. I didn't think I needed to as everything I'd read just said sign up with the new provider and they will deal with everything for you.
As suggested by dabigm I'll raise a complaint and pay under protest and take the matter forward that way. I'll also not pay by card and cancel the DD when they have taken the last payment.
 
Last edited:

dabigm

Top Member
Thanks for your advice. I did think they had tried to cover everything, but not wordered it exactly correctly if that is what they were trying to do (in which case they could have just said if you ever leave for whatever reason).
I didn't give them notice. I didn't think I needed to as everything I'd read just said sign up with the new provider and they will deal with everything for you.
As suggested by dabigm I'll raise a complaint and pay under protest and take the matter forward that way. I'll also not pay by card and cancel the DD when they have taken the last payment.

Sorry I glossed over the switching bit. You shouldn't have to give notice if you are following the industry standard broadband switching process. It does sound like your ISP has got it wrong to me. Hopefully they will see their error when you complain but if not Mark has also given good advice, and if it all fails, you can ask the ombudsman to step in .. who knows you might even get some compensation on top! Best of luck.
 

Forty45

Member
Update

I has been resolved to my satisfaction. Shortly after sending my complaint I received the following;

"Thank you for your email, please accept my apologies, you have found cause to complain.

Upon review of your account, I can see we have received a notification of transfer, the provider shows on our system as unknown.

I have investigated this further and can see the RID code was not complete, this identifies the gaining provider.

My investigations have concluded the service will be moving to Plusnet and I have now raised a credit for the £35.00 cease fee, which has been applied to your account.

I hope this resolves your complaint, please let me know if I can assist further?

Many thanks
Carly"

My only observation on the above is that when I was called by Supanet to try and persuade me to stay (they were 45p a month more for the same package, but the £35 charge was used as a reason I shouldn't move!), I mentioned I was going to Plusnet, so the caller would/should have known the £35 charge was an error......

Hopefully this will enable the move to Plusnet on 25/3 to be incident free.
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
Good news and I'm glad they didn't drag that out. Let us know how the move goes.
 

dabigm

Top Member
Good stuff. Bet you're glad to get away from them 😂
 
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