How often do you study the terms and conditions when you sign up for a new broadband contract? Sadly not many people do. It’s so much easier to scroll to the bottom of a page and simply click ‘agree’ without reading the small print.

However, failing to notice crucial clauses can lead to disappointment later on. It’s a big reason why 25% of all Internet users are unhappy with their service. They were promised the earth only to get a nasty shock when their first invoice arrives.

Below we discuss five common complaints about broadband contracts and tell you how to avoid the pitfalls. Always enter every broadband contract with your eyes wide open.

 Set up fees

It’s easy to focus on the headline cost per month when signing up to a new broadband contract. But this can be a mistake. ISPs often charge an additional ‘set up fee’ or make you pay extra for equipment. Therefore, it’s vital to calculate the total amount you’ll pay over the duration of a contract.

Some ISPs charge between £20–50 in one-off set up fees. Others will ask for two months of your subscription up front. Meanwhile, some companies charge as much as £50 for a router plus extra to post it to you. And if you don’t pay by direct debit, some companies ask for an extra £5 per month. Suddenly that eye-catching headline rate doesn’t look such good value after all.

At Everyday Communications, we always try to be as transparent as possible. Installation is free, we provide a free router, and the headline cost is always the final amount you pay. We don’t believe in hidden charges because they damage our relationship with customers.

Penalties for breaking download limits

Some ISPs still slap download limits on your broadband contract. And woe betides anyone who goes over this arbitrary figure. You could be charged as much as £2 per GB — an enormous penalty when you can use up 3GB streaming a single high definition movie.

The problem is that most people don’t know what their limit is. What’s more, it’s incredibly difficult to keep track of how much data you’re using anyway, especially if you have children who use social media, video chat, and download TV shows.

Although many ISPs will email customers if their limit is approaching, others automatically upgrade you to another (more expensive) package instead. So before you sign any broadband contract make sure you know your limits. Fortunately, at Everyday Communications we only offer unlimited downloads subject to fair usage.

 Support line charges

This one is so unreasonable. Your Internet’s faulty, it’s not your fault, but you still get charged for phoning up customer support.

Before you sign any broadband contract, always find out what your ISP’s support number is. If it’s a premium rate number starting in 09 then it’s best to steer clear — especially as many ISPs will put you on hold for several minutes before they actually answer your call.

Make sure you know what you’re letting yourself in for. 0800 and 0808 numbers are free. 0333 numbers, on the other hand, will be charged like a regular call to a landline. If faults persist then these call charges soon add up.

Because this is one of our pet peeves, the Everyday Communications 24/7 customer support line is free. Simply call in, report a problem, and we’ll action it immediately. Plus we’ll always warn you of upcoming maintenance work on our broadband status page.

Not getting the service you expect

Broadband speeds vary depending on where you live and how close you are to your telephone exchange and street cabinet. Therefore, many people don’t get the speeds they’re promised.

You can cancel within 30 days if the advertised speeds don’t live up to expectations. Look to see if your broadband contract includes a minimum level of service delivery. And don’t overpay for legacy technologies that don’t utilise today’s high-speed network.

The annual cost for our Everyday Fibre, which offers super fast speeds of 80 Mbps, is just £270. This gives you the perfect balance of value and performance.

It’s also worth checking your broadband contact to see whether your ISP can change any part of that contract, including the price, at any time. Ofcom has ruled that you can cancel your contract with no penalty if you suffer a mid-contract price hike. Always know your rights.

5. Termination fees

So you’ve finally had enough and decided to walk away. Good for you. Sadly, however, doing so could incur even more expense if you’re not careful.

Cancellation fees are uniform across the industry; therefore if you cancel your broadband contract prematurely (outside your 30 day cooling off period) then you might have to pay off your remaining subscription — which could be 18 to 24 months.

You might even have to pay if your contract states no minimum contract. Several leading brands, for example, will charge you from £45 to £80 to cancel your broadband contract within the first twelve months. One of the best-known ISPs even charges £45 for equipment if you don’t return your router.

There are also pitfalls if you’re out of contract. Some ISPs break Ofcom’s code of practice by failing to tell you when your contract is up for renewal. Instead they surreptitiously move you to a more expensive rolling contract.

The key, of course, is to find an ISP that behaves ethically. Our broadband contract, for example, lasts for just 12 months. This gives our customers peace of mind, especially if they’re renting or plan to move home in the not so distant future.

The key, of course, is to find an ISP that behaves ethically. Our broadband contract, for example, lasts for just 12 months. This gives our customers peace of mind, especially if they’re renting or plan to move home in the not so distant future.

Keep it simple

We believe transparency is always vital in any IPS / customer relationship. What you see should be what you get. It’s just not reasonable to expect customers to plough through small print that’s long enough to confound a lawyer.

With Everyday Communications you simply pay one flat fee per month. And that’s the total amount you’ll pay. Everything’s included and everybody’s happy. So there’s no need to make a big deal out of small print.