Installation, equipment and maintenance
Your rights extend to all aspects of your broadband service, including installation, hardware (such as a wireless router) and ongoing maintenance. All of these aspects are covered by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2014.
MTH Networks is responsible for any hardware, such as a router, that is supplied as part of the contract. If you supply your own hardware bought elsewhere, you should contact the retailer for support. Hardware should be fit for purpose, and of satisfactory quality. It will normally be covered by a manufacturer’s guarantee, but your additional rights under the Act mean you will get a replacement if a fault occurs within 30 days, or a repair or replacement within at least six months.
Ongoing maintenance, such as relating to speed or downtime, should be provided to ensure the terms of your contract are met. If they don’t, then support should be offered within “a reasonable time and without charge”. If any problems are still not fixed, you may be able to claim a price reduction, or to cancel the contract.
When your contract period ends
After you minimum contract period has run out, you won't need to apply for a new contract, your current contract will be convert into a ‘rolling contract’ where you continue to pay the same price but may give 30 days notice at any time to end the contract.
Ending your contract early
If you try to end your contract early before the minimum contract period has finished, you will be liable to pay charges to leave your contract. As per your Consumer Rights - This will not be more than the cost of the remaining months of service that you would have paid for if the contract had continued.
There are, however, some circumstances where you should be allowed to leave your contract early without consequences;
Fourteen day cooling off period
If you've only just signed up over the phone or on the Internet, regulations may allow you to cancel within the following 14 days, without any penalties. You will be required to pay for the pro-rata amount of services used. Any Setup Fee's are non-refundable. For clarification, the 14-day cooling off period starts the day after the order is placed at MTH Networks, and has no relation to the Order Activation Date.
Since June 2014, the Consumer Contracts Regulations have applied to contracts sold at a distance, including broadband services. These extend the distance selling ‘cooling off period’ to 14 days. You must cancel in writing. It should be noted that when hardware is involved you will not be able to qualify for a refund if the packaging has been opened - it needs to be in pristine and resalable condition.
Small print and mis-selling
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 gives you additional protections for contracts signed after 1st October 2015. These cover two main areas:
- Contracts must be clear. Terms, including hidden charges, can no longer be tucked away in the small print: they should be up front and clear. The Act states that they must be “brought to the consumer’s attention in such a way that an average consumer would be aware of the term”. In addition, they must be written in “plain and intelligible language”.
- Spoken statements form part of the contract. Either verbally or in writing — can now be considered as part of the contract.
Mid-term contract changes
The communications regulator Ofcom's ‘General Conditions’ for providers require that if changes are to be made to your existing contract that may be of ‘material detriment’ to you, your provider must give you at least a month's notice of this and allow you to exit your contract without penalty.
For contracts starting after 23rd of January 2014, Ofcom say that any changes to contract terms must be communicated clearly to customers, and make it clear that mid-term price rises always count as ‘material detriment’ and should always allow a customer to leave their contract early. They also clarify that keeping the price of your service the same while significantly reducing the features provided could also be treated as a price increase.
So, if the price you agreed when signing up for your broadband is raised (not including previously explained promotional introductory prices ending) before your contract period is over, you should be informed of this and allowed to leave your contract early, without incurring charges.
Since this announcement, MTH Networks have updated their contract terms and conditions to explicitly allow for limited price rises during the minimum contract term. This raise is limited to 10% of the monthly cost, and therefore is not classed as material detriment.
‘Not fit for purpose’
If you feel that your broadband has been mis-sold to you and does not provide the features you were promised before signing up, or if your broadband has since developed a serious fault that prevents you from enjoying the service, you may also be able to get out of your contract.
Contracts entered into from 1st October 2015 are covered by the Consumer Rights Act 2015. This states that goods (such as hardware) must be of satisfactory quality and be fit for purpose. A service must conform to the contract, including additional written or verbal promises. This could include speed, reliability or installation. If these terms are not met, your rights include a price reduction or even ending the contract. Please note, where MTH Networks resells servicecs, such as, but not limited to: OFNL Network, City Fibre, BT Openreach; speeds quoted are not guarentee'd and are quoted as "Up to".
Older contracts are still governed by the Sale of Goods Act, 1979 and The Supply of Goods and Services Act, 1982. Under these suppliers of both goods and services (so in this case, broadband hardware and ongoing broadband connections) must ensure what they sell is fit for purpose, delivered as described, of satisfactory quality and provided to ‘proper standards of workmanship’.
To leave your contract under these terms, you’d need to make a complaint to your provider, so read on to the section below on complaints and dispute resolution.