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Phones & Broadband

phones & broadband

If you entered into your contract for broadband or telephone services, before 1st October 2015 then your provider must comply with the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982, and the CONSUMER CONTRACTS (INFORMATION, CANCELLATION AND ADDITIONAL PAYMENTS) REGS 2013 (Consumer Contract Regs), which came into force on the 13th June 2014.

Before the 13th June 2014 the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling Regulations 2000 and the Cancellation of Contracts made in a Consumers Home or Place of Work etc Regs 2008 (AKA Doorstop Selling Regulations) would have applied.

For all broadband or telephone services contracts that you enter into after 1st October 2015, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 will apply.

Faulty Phone bought BEFORE 1st OCTOBER 2015

With regard to the actual phone itself, if you just bought a phone without any contract, and the purchase was made before 1st October 2015, then any claim you have if it becomes faulty will be under the Sale of Goods Act.  If you bought the same phone, but as part of a service contract, or if it is supplied free with the contract and it then becomes faulty any claim will be under the Supply of Goods and Services Act.

Faulty Phone bought AFTER 1st OCTOBER 2015

If you just bought a phone without any contract, and the purchase was made after 1st October 2015, then any claim you have if it becomes faulty will be under the Consumer Rights Act.  If you bought the same phone, but as part of a service contract, or if it is supplied free with the contract and it then becomes faulty any claim will once again be under the Consumer Rights Act.

Not happy with your service

If you are unhappy about any aspect of the service being provided then you should follow the provider’s complaints procedure.  If you are still not happy then you may be able to refer a complaint to the provider’s dispute resolution scheme (and every provider has to belong to a scheme).  There are currently 2 schemes in operation:

The Communication and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS) 


The Ombudsman Services for Communication

Complaints must be raised within specified time limits, and only complaints about the service can be made – the schemes will not deal with complaints about equipment provided.

The Schemes will not deal with a complaint until the internal complaints procedure of the company has been followed, and at least 8 weeks have passed since the complaint was originally submitted.

In addition under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, they will need to make you aware of these certified Alternative Dispute Resolution providers, and they should also notify you whether or not they are prepared to use the ADR provider to deal with the dispute.

It is worth remembering that under the Provision of Services Regulations 2009, traders are under a legal duty to respond to any complaints as quickly as possible, and to use their best efforts to resolve any complaints. This means that companies must respond to your phone calls, emails and any written letters of complaint that you may send.  Under these Regulations, if any complaint appears to be valid, then the company should deal with the complaint and try and put things right as quickly as they can. If your complaint is disputed then they should give you a clear explanation of their reasons.

Contracts entered into on-line/by phone

See our arranging services online section.

Making a Complaint


Going to Court




Questions & Answers


My phone broke and the phone company say it will take up to 6 weeks to repair - is that acceptable?

This will depend on the date of the contract.

Before 1st October 2015

If this was before 1st October 2015 and your phone broke, then the Sale of Goods Act will apply. Under the Sale of Goods Act where a repair is to be carried out, it must be done within a reasonable period of time and without causing significant inconvenience.  You would therefore argue that due to the time it is not reasonable and would cause you significant inconvenience unless they are to provide you with a replacement during that time – if they cannot, you should ask for a replacement.

After 1st October 2015

If it was after 1st October 2015, then under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, if you asked for a repair, then the company must  similarly to the position under the Sale of Goods Act, do this at no cost to you, within a reasonable time and without causing significant inconvenience.

So like the position prior to 1st October 2015, you would argue that due to the time it was not reasonable to have to wait 6 weeks, as it would cause you significant inconvenience, and therefore you should ask for a replacement.

However, under the Consumer Rights Act, if your phone is replaced, so as to avoid any significant inconvenience, and after just one replacement, your phone still does not work, then you do not have to give the company other opportunities to either repair or replace it, although you can do so if this is what you want to do.

If a replacement phone was not available, or if it was not provided within a reasonable time and without causing you significant inconvenience, then you could claim either a price reduction or you could reject the phone.

Any price reduction must be for an appropriate amount, which will depend on all the circumstances of the case. It could be any amount up to the whole price of the phone. If you choose to reject it, then the company would be allowed to make a deduction from the refund to reflect any usage that you had from the phone.

My Broadband was lost for a week and I lost of lot of business - can I charge this to the company?

Where there is a breach of contract – in this case a lost service – you can only claim those financial losses that are reasonably foreseeable.  If you did not have a business contract, you would not be able to claim business losses, and the company could not foresee that any revenue would be lost by you.  They would argue that it was too remote.

I agreed a new contract on the phone but have changed my mind - can I cancel?

You can cancel within 14 days of receiving the phone however, if you agreed on the phone and it is clear on the contract that you expressly asked for the contract to start within that time, then the phone company will be able to charge you for the rental up to the date of cancellation.  If you used the phone during that time they will also be able to make a charge for the diminished value of the phone.

I want to cancel my phone contract but have been told there will be an £80.00 charge.

When you enter into a contract you are bound by it for the term of the contract.  If you wish to cancel the contract before the expiry of the term the phone company can look to you for its loss of profits.

Under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations 1999 the subject matter and price of a contract were excluded from being assessed for fairness by a court. A key provision of the new Consumer Rights Bill will seek to remedy this. From 1st October 2015 subject matter and price will still be excluded from a fairness assessment as long as they are “transparent and prominent”. So if it was made clear in the contract that there would be a £80 charge and it was deemed to be both transparent and prominent, then they would be entitled to make this charge.

My phone provider is raising the monthly cost of my contract.

If your contract was taken out before 23 January 2014, then unfortunately there were no clear rules in place that allowed you to cancel because of price increases during the term of your contract, and your provider would be allowed to increase the price.

In order to redress this situation and to improve protection for consumers and small businesses, Ofcom issued new Guidelines for mobile phone providers which took effect on the 23rd January 2014.

As a result of these OFCOM Guidelines, now  if your provider wishes to increase your monthly subscription price (or prices) that were originally agreed by you at the  point of sale, then you should be given at least one month’s notice of the increase and be allowed to cancel the contract without any financial penalty.

The guidance also states that any changes to your contract terms, pricing or otherwise, must also be communicated to you both clearly and transparently.