Broadband customers trying to beat price hikes by switching supplier are trapped by big exit fees, consumer group says
- Major internet suppliers are expected to hike bills by 14 per cent or more in April
- But those wanting to move to another supplier could be hit by exit fees of £200
- Many suppliers raise prices every April in line with the rate of inflation
Broadband customers hoping to beat looming price hikes are being ‘trapped’ by providers hitting them with punishing exit penalties if they try to switch, experts claim.
Major internet suppliers such as BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone, EE and Virgin Media are expected to hike bills by an inflation-busting 14 per cent or more in April – adding as much as £66 to annual bills.
However, consumer champions Which? say those wanting to move to another supplier can be hit by exit fees of £200 or more while they are under contract.
It is calling on the firms to allow customers to leave without penalty if prices are increased mid-contract.
Broadband customers hoping to beat upcoming price hikes are being ‘trapped’ by providers hitting them with punishing exit penalties if they try to switch, experts said. [File image]
Many suppliers raise prices every April in line with the rate of inflation plus an extra 3 per cent to 3.9 per cent. Which? calculates that the average EE customer would see the largest potential annual increase of £66.89. This is followed by BT customers who could pay an extra £65.59 a year.
Rules set by the regulator Ofcom allow customers the right to exit their contract penalty-free if they are subject to unexpected price rises.
But it does not apply in this case as firms include small print stating that they can impose mid-contract price rises linked to the rate of inflation.
Which? found the highest early exit fee would be £219.04 for BT customers. This was followed by Shell Energy Broadband, EE and Plusnet customers, who would pay £160.20, £150.49 and £144.75 respectively.
Major internet suppliers such as BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone, EE and Virgin Media are expected to hike bills by an inflation-busting 14 per cent or more in April. [File image]
Which? director of policy and advocacy Rocio Concha said: ‘It is completely unfair that people are trapped in this situation. Telecoms providers need to step up and play their part to support their customers through the cost of living crisis.’
A BT spokesman – speaking for BT, EE and Plusnet – said the average price rise for customers will be around £1 a week, adding: ‘We are balancing our own rising costs due to high inflation and making vital digital infrastructure investments for the UK.’
TalkTalk called on Ofcom to help suppliers deliver lower increases.
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