If you want to cancel your contract for a phone, internet or TV service you will need to check your terms and conditions to find out what your cancellation rights are.
This page tells you how to cancel your contract and how to check what your cancellation rights are.
Automatic contract renewals
Automatic contract renewals have now been banned by Ofcom. So at the end of your minimum contract term you should be given an opportunity to cancel without it being automatically renewed.
More information about the ban of automatic contract renewals is available from Ofcom at www.ofcom.org.uk
Check your cancellation rights
If you want to cancel your phone, mobile, internet or TV contract, you should check your cancellation rights in your terms and conditions. These should have been sent to you in a letter or email when you bought the service. Things to look out for are a:
- cooling-off period
- minimum contract period
- notice period
- cancellation charge.
Your service provider may have given you a cooling-off period. This lets you cancel the contract for any reason within a set time. Check your terms and conditions to see if you have a cooling-off period.
If you bought the service online or over the phone, you will have a 14 day cooling-off period in which you can cancel for any reason, unless the service started immediately after you bought it.
Changing your mind
If you haven’t yet got a finalised agreement, for example, if you haven’t yet paid or received confirmation, you can change your mind about having the service and will generally not have to pay anything. Contact the company immediately, saying you don’t want to go ahead with the service and confirm this in writing. Keep a copy of the letter.
Minimum contract period
When you buy a contract for a phone, internet or TV service it is usually for a minimum time, for example 12 or 18 months. Your terms and conditions will tell you how long your minimum contract period is. Your service provider may not let you cancel your contract early without paying all of the monthly charges for the minimum contract period.
Price increases during your contract
If you took out a contract on or after 23 January 2014 and you’re told about a price increase to your monthly subscription, then you’re entitled to have 30 days’ notice of any price increase and can end the contract without penalty. But if it was made clear to you about the price increase when you signed up to the contract, you will have to pay a penalty if you contract says so. For example, if you knew in advance that you’d have to pay more in the second year of the contract, then you’ll have to pay a penalty if you leave early.
If you took out a contract before 23 January 2014 and the increase is considered to be unreasonably high you can complain to your provider.
Find out more about your rights if your terms and conditions have been changed
Your service provider may charge you for cancelling your contract before the end of the minimum contract period. Check your terms and conditions to find out. Ofcom guidance says this charge is fair if:
- you know what the charge is and it was made clear to you before you bought the contract
- the charge is not more than the amount you owe for the remaining months of your minimum contract period.
But if you took out a contract on or after 23 January 2014 and the price of your monthly subscription is increased, you're allowed to end the contract without penalty, as long as you didn’t know about the increases when you signed up to the contract.
If you are cancelling a broadband service, you may have to pay a ‘cease’ charge, even if the minimum contract period is over. Ofcom says this charge is fair if you were told about it before you bought the contract. The amount should be based on the cost of the service provider stopping the service.
You may have to give your service provider notice in advance if you want to cancel within the contract period. This is usually one month but check your terms and conditions.
How to cancel your contract
You terms and conditions may give you some instructions on how to cancel your contract. Otherwise, contact your service provider and tell them you want to cancel. You can do this by phone but ask them to send you a letter to confirm the cancellation. If you write to cancel your contract, include:
- your name, address and contact details
- what you bought and when
- your customer or service account number
- that you want to cancel
- ask for written confirmation that the contract has been cancelled
It's a good idea to get a certificate of posting from the post office if you send a cancellation by post.
If you have problems cancelling your contract, you can make a complaint.
If your service provider has broken the contract
If your service provider breaks their side of the contract, for example, they don't do what is in the terms and conditions, or they don't deliver the service, you may be able to argue that you can rescind the contract. This has the effect of cancelling it without you paying any penalties or charges.
Mobile phones - if you can’t cancel
If you can’t cancel your mobile phone, you could try and sell it to someone else. However, you should ask your provider first if the account can be transferred to another person. They may not allow this. Check the terms and conditions of your contract.