Saturday 3 December 2016

Thinking of changing over? Consumers warned breaking contracts could cost €300

Published 23/08/2016 | 02:30

Nearly all broadband, mobile phone and energy companies charge early exit fees, which can amount to hundreds of euro. Stock Photo
Nearly all broadband, mobile phone and energy companies charge early exit fees, which can amount to hundreds of euro. Stock Photo

Consumers have been warned that quitting contracts early could cost them up to €300.

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Nearly all broadband, mobile phone and energy companies charge early exit fees, which can amount to hundreds of euro.

Exit penalties apply if you break out of contract before the term is up.

But almost three out of four consumers are confused about early exit penalties on their contacts for household essentials, a survey commissioned by price-comparison site Switcher.ie found.

The survey also found a third of consumers are unsure if they have to pay a penalty for cancelling contracts early.

Many don't know what they will have to shell out for getting out of a contract before its term is up, according to the survey of 1,000 people carried out by Coyne Research.

The price-comparison experts at Switcher.ie said there was reason to be sympathetic about consumer confusion on exit penalties. Switcher.ie managing director Eoin Clarke said energy companies charge a flat fee of €50 if a customer cancels inside a year.

But he said consumers who were trying to calculate early exit fees for their broadband and mobile phone contracts may have difficulty finding this information.

"We would urge suppliers to make it really clear to consumers what their minimum ­contract term is, and what they will be charged if they leave before the end of this term," he said.

A number of mobile phone operators charge the remainder of the contract value if a customer opts to end the contract early. This can run to hundreds of euro of expense.

Eir Mobile, Meteor, Tesco Mobile, Three and Vodafone charge consumers the remainder of the contract value if they terminate the contract early.

Virgin Mobile charges all the outstanding instalments on the device, and unpaid call and other usage charges, while iD and LycaMobile have no termination charges, according to Mr Clarke.

The cost for exiting broadband contracts is up to €300.

Digiweb has a €299 early exit fee, with Vodafone levying a €270 charge. Eir charges €250, with €200 charged by Virgin Media, Switcher.ie said.

Magnet was shown to be the only telecoms provider not to charge early exit fees for terminating its broadband services.

Irish Independent

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