Modems

Families advised to beware costs of early exit charges in household contracts

Consumers are being urged to “wise up” on utility penalty clauses so that fear of early exit fees doesn’t stop them from securing a better, more cost-effective deal.

Switcher.ie has today (Wednesday) released advice to help families:

  • Almost all utility companies charge early exit fees, but the majority of consumers are in the dark about these charges.

  • Two-thirds of electricity (65 per cent), gas (65 per cent) and broadband (63 per cent) customers either don’t know if they would incur a penalty for leaving their contract early, or are unsure of the amount they would be charged for doing so.

  • One in five (17 per cent) utility customers say they have been charged exit fees in the past for at least one utility, with an average termination charge of EUR180.

  • Switcher.ie urges customers to take note of the minimum term, cooling-off period and early exit fees when they are signing up to a contract.

New research from independent price comparison and switching service Switcher.ie shows the majority of Irish consumers are still in the dark about early exit penalties on household utility contracts and this could be costing people dearly.

Families Advised To Beware Costs Of Early Exit Charges In Household Contracts

A spokesman said: “Analysis of exit fees shows that consumers face penalties of up to EUR300 for leaving a utility contract six months early. However, the real danger for consumers is not so much that they could unwittingly be forced to pay a fee.

“Instead it’s the fact that these fees, which are largely avoidable, are acting as a fear factor or deterrent, preventing them from actively seeking out better value or more cost-effective deals.

“The findings show that the majority of utility customers either don’t know if they would incur a penalty for breaking their contract early, or are unsure of the amount they would be charged.

“This applies to two-thirds of electricity (65 per cent), gas (65 per cent), home phone (65 per cent) and broadband (63 per cent) customers, and over half of TV (54 per cent), bins/recycling (52 per cent), and mobile phone (51 per cent) customers.

“The majority of utility suppliers do charge early exit penalties, but only around one in ten electricity (11 per cent), gas (9 per cent), home phone (11 per cent) and mobile phone customers (11 per cent) know the exact amount they would be charged for cancelling early.

“Worryingly, this low level of awareness about early exit penalties appears to be across all the main household utilities, with just 13 per cent of broadband and TV customers and five per cent of bins/recycling customers fully in the know about these fees.

“Relatively low switching levels in Ireland mean that only one-fifth (17 per cent) of utility customers say they have been charged early exit fees in the past for a utility.

“But, with the average termination charge amongst these consumers standing at EUR180, consumers still can’t afford to be complacent, and need to be aware of these fees before signing up to a contract.

“Energy suppliers appear to be leading the way in terms of transparency, with these fees displayed clearly on websites, and most charging a flat fee of EUR50 per fuel for cancelling a contract early.

“New regulations from the Commission for Energy Regulation also mean that, from October, energy suppliers will have to give consumers 30 days’ notice before they come to the end of their contract.

“This is a positive move and should help to increase customer awareness of the date from which they are free to switch without being charged an early exit fee.

“However, telecoms companies still have a way to go, as it can be difficult to find the information on some providers’ websites.

“Charges for cancelling telecoms contracts tend to be higher, too, reaching up to EUR300 for someone who cancels their contract with six months remaining.

“Unlike most energy deals, broadband, TV and phone plans often come with equipment such as set-top boxes, modems and handsets included, so this could explain the higher charges. It’s also worth noting that early exit fees are waived in certain circumstances.

“Utility providers have an important role to play in ensuring that consumers are given clear and simple information about any early exit penalties.

“At the same time, consumers can help themselves by making sure that they read and understand their utility contracts, so they shouldn’t allow uncertainty about exit penalties to stop them from shopping around.

Householders could lose out on hundreds of euro each year if they stick with a supplier or contract that is too expensive and doesn’t meet their needs.”

If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Now editorial team. Between 9am and 5pm Monday to Sunday please call 074 9112712. Between 5pm and midnight please call or text 086 792 2103.

Or you can email email protected1 at any time.

References

  1. ^ email protected (www.donegalnow.com)

August update on state of broadband coverage across the UK and regions

August update on state of broadband coverage across the UK and regions

Another month has flown by and that means its time to look at the changes in broadband coverage across the UK and see how much of an impact all the work is having compared to the number of press releases that are issued. The same number of regions are included in the data this month, but we have now included the number of premises in each region and the breakdown for the various speed points too, thus making it easier to get an idea of what sort of change each 0.1% in the overall figure actually means.

thinkbroadband calculation of Superfast, USC, USO and Fibre Broadband Coverage1 across the UK, its nations and regions for premises
In descending order of superfast coverage – figures 6th August 2017
(change since 7th July 2017) Area % fibre based
VDSL2 or
FTTP or
Cable % superfast
24 Mbps or faster % superfast
30 Mbps or faster % Ultrafast
100 Mbps or faster % Openreach FTTP % Under 2 Mbps USC % Under proposed 10 Mbps USO North East 97.7% 96.3% (+0.1) 96% 52.8% (+0.1) 0.06% 0.2% 1.3% 927,552 Premises 905,759 893,634 890,447 877,939 600 2,169 12,094 London 97.2% 96.1% (+0.2) 95.9% 71.1% (+0.1) 1.90% 0.1% 0.8% 4,397,679 Premises 4,272,897 4,224,452 4,215,213 3,124,889 83,368 6,563 36,791 East Midlands 98.2% 95.9% (+0.1) 95.4% 58.7% (+0.1) 0.14% 0.5% 1.9% 1,101,327 Premises 1,081,586 1,055,946 1,051,212 645,955 1,498 5,613 20,570 South East 98.1% 95.7% (+0.1) 95.2% 52.4% (=) 1.22% 0.3% 1.6% 2,154,786 Premises 2,113,165 2,063,073 2,052,302 1,129,449 26,216 7,237 34,850 West Midlands 97.7% 95.4% (+0.1) 95% 64.4% (+0.1) 0.28% 0.4% 1.9% 2,767,345 Premises 2,702,906 2,641,404 2,628,726 1,781,983 7,854 11,345 52,155 North West 97.6% 94.8% (+0.1) 94.3% 48.5% (+0.1) 0.99% 0.7% 2.6% 3,895,746 Premises 3,801,455 3,692,854 3,672,825 1,887,588 38,714 28,239 100,225 England 96.7% 94.1% (+0.2) 93.6% 55.7% (=) 1.76% 0.6% 2.5% 23,891,665 Premises 23,105,672 22,472,665 22,350,644 13,313,043 420,025 135,215 602,189 United Kingdom 96.5% 93.4% (+0.2) 92.8% 52.8% (=) 1.61% 0.8% 3.1% 28,515,090 Premises 27,522,375 26,619,513 26,452,838 15,057,164 458,814 229,100 888,860 Rest Of Scotland 95.5% 92.5% (+0.5) 91.8% 47% (+0.1) 0.12% 1% 4% 2,338,003 Premises 2,231,953 2,161,972 2,147,373 1,098,494 2,833 23,718 92,540 East of England 95.8% 92.3% (+0.3) 91.6% 51.6% (=) 0.59% 0.7% 3.5% 2,602,529 Premises 2,492,069 2,401,162 2,384,473 1,342,575 15,241 19,153 90,202 Wales 95.5% 91.5% (+0.2) 90.5% 32.2% (+0.1) 2.48% (+0.14) 0.9% 4.9% 1,321,385 Premises 1,262,556 1,208,819 1,195,809 426,027 32,715 12,351 64,937 Yorkshire and Humber 93.9% 91.5% (+0.3) 91% 53.1% (+0.1) 5.1% (includes KCom Lightstream) 0.6% 3.9% 2,557,428 Premises 2,401,146 2,339,403 2,327,882 1,357,200 130,305 16,172 100,606 Scotland 94.7% 90.8% (+0.5) 90% 42.7% (+1.9) 0.11% 1.4% 5.3% 2,575,926 Premises 2,440,157 2,338,504 2,318,638 1,100,508 2,848 34,913 137,145 South West 95.6% 90.6% (+0.1) 89.7% 44.6% (+0.1) 3.33% 1.1% 4.4% 3,487,273 Premises 3,334,689 3,160,737 3,127,564 1,553,749 116,229 38,724 154,696 Northern Ireland 98.3% 82.6% (+0.4) 80.9% 30% (=) 0.44% 6.4% 11.6% 726,114 Premises 713,990 599,525 587,747 217,586 3,226 46,621 84,589 Highlands and Islands (HIE) 87.2% 73.4% (+0.8) 71.1% 0.08% (=) 0.08% 4.9% 19.6% 226,458 Premises 197,578 166,175 161,009 173 173 11,168 44,368

A week ago we were quoting 904,000 premises as needing work under the proposed Universal Service Obligation and that has now dropped to 888,860 premises as a result of the roll-outs and this reflects the importance when costing solutions or studying proposals to implement the USO that the impact of the continuing roll-outs of superfast broadband is considered. These figures do not include the contribution that fixed wireless is making to the superfast coverage levels from AirBand in Devon or UK Broadband in Swindon yet, they are on the to-do list to be integrated into the coverage analysis.

Scotland has crossed a milestone this month as it has reached the coveage level of 90.01% for premises (and for those not aware premises comprises homes + businesses) at the 30 Mbps and faster level and it will be interesting to see how long current pace of roll-out can be maintained.

Northern Ireland also appears to have woken up from a relative slumber with more cabinets, infill cabinets and little bits of native GEA-FTTP appearing.

Comments

Post a comment

Login Register23

References

  1. ^ Council, Constituency and postcode broadband availability checker (labs.thinkbroadband.com)
  2. ^ Login (www.thinkbroadband.com)
  3. ^ Register (www.thinkbroadband.com)

Malware Takes Down MTNL Broadband!

10000 Users Affected