Will Your Broadband Contract Auto-Renew?

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    Dec 07, 2013
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Stealth Computer (except for the dang printers)
Stealth Computer (except for the dang printers)
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Many people worry that their broadband contract is going to auto-renew.  This is something that most people want to avoid because it locks them into another set time period with the provider.  If you are worried about this you need to know how you can determine whether this is something that will happen to you.  You should also consider why there are these types of contracts out there.  The last point that you need to look at is the different ways that contracts can renew with the different broadband connections.

Is Your Contract Going to Auto-Renew?

The chances of your contract auto-renewing are actually rather low.  This is due to the fact that in 2011 Ofcom placed a ban on the selling of ARC or automatically renewable contracts in home and mobile broadband.  This means that any contract that was started from the beginning of 2012 will not auto-renew.
While this ban is in effect there are many people who wonder whether or not the contract that they took out before the end of 2011 is an ARC.  If you did have a contract that was an ARC then you should not actually have an auto-renewal.  When the ban on ARC’s came into effect Ofcom stated that all consumers who have ARC’s have to be moved to a different contract.

This means that the contract you were on should have been changed from an ARC to a regular contract.  The provider that you use would be in breach of the ban on ARC’s if they allowed you to continue with this contract type.

Has Your Contract Been Changed

The ban on ARC’s took effect on 31 December 2011.  You should look at any paper work you have from your broadband provider around this time.  You should have been informed that you were being moved to a different contract and when the contract was set to expire.  This information allows you to see when your contract is coming to an end and whether or not you were on an ARC. 

Why ARC’s Were Used

The ARC was used by most broadband and phone providers before the ban was put in place.  This is due to the fact that most people do not remember when their contract is set to expire.  When the consumer does not contact the provider when the contract expires it would automatically renew for another 12 to 18 months.

For the provider this meant that they were going to get the contract fee each month.  However, for the consumer this meant that changing providers would cost them a cancellation fee and they would not be able to upgrade either.  Ofcom estimated that around 15% of the homes in the UK had these contracts and that this was a major problem for consumers.

What Will Happen Now

As you do not really have to worry about the ARC or your contract auto-renewing you might wonder what is going to happen.  There are two things that could happen that you need to know about.  These two scenarios will play out depending on the connection that you have for your broadband.  One of the scenarios is for fixed line broadband and the other is for mobile broadband.

Fixed Line Broadband Renewal

When you have a fixed line broadband connection you do not have to worry about auto-renewal.  When your contract is coming to an end you should be contacted by your broadband provider.  The provider will then tell you that your contract is soon going to end.  They will generally ask whether or not you want to renew the contract. 

If you are happy with the package you have and the service that you are getting then you can renew the contract.  The new contract will be sent to you telling you about the terms, the costs and the new expiry date.  However, if you are not happy with the package that you have you can do a couple of things. 
The first thing that you can do is ask your current provider about the other packages that they have to offer you.  If they have a package that suits your needs and you are happy with the provider then you should look at taking this package.

The second thing you can do is tell the provider that you do not want to renew right now or that you need some time to think.  You can then look at the other providers that can offer you the broadband that you want and need.  Once you have done this you can set in motion the process of changing providers and packages.

Mobile Broadband Renewal

When you look at the renewal of mobile broadband you will find a slightly different situation.  The provider will contact you to tell you that the contract you have is going to expire.  Of course, you will find some providers that do not contact you. 

If you do not change or renew the contract then you are going to be placed on a monthly rolling contract.  This can change the amount that you pay for the broadband and the data allowance that you have.  When this happens you will need to give your provider a month’s notice if you want to change providers. 
If you are going to stay with the provider, but have been placed on a rolling contract then you will have to pay for one of the rolling months before the new contract begins.  While this does lock you in for a month it is not considered to be a violation of the auto-renew ban.

Auto-renew contracts are not actually allowed to be used anymore.  This means that once your contract ends you will be contacted about what your next steps are going to be.  The amount of time that the provider offers you will vary.  If you want to change the package and provider that you are using you should consider uSwitch and other comparison websites.  These websites will be able to help you determine which package you should be using.

Author's Profile

When asked by his parents about how they could bundle their home and mobile broadband together, Phil Turner suggested that they look up websites like uSwitch for information.

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