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Your service provider is threatening to disconnect you – TV, phones, and internet

This advice applies to Scotland

Being threatened with disconnection can be distressing. That’s why it is important to contact your service provider as soon as possible if you’re having trouble paying your bills.

This page explains what you should do if your service provider is threatening to disconnect you because of unpaid payments.

Top tips

If you’re struggling to pay your bills, don’t ignore the problem and hope it will go away. If you contact your service provider to explain the situation, they must work with you to arrange a payment plan based on what you can afford to pay. If you don’t, you run the risk of being disconnected.

If you’re behind with your bills

Service providers can disconnect you if you owe them money because you are not paying for the service. Each service provider has its own policy on disconnections and it is vital that you refer to their Code of Practice.

If a bill has been sent to you and you haven’t paid it, the service provider will usually send a reminder.

Depending on the company’s Code of Practice, you will have a certain time within which to pay the bill before the service is disconnected. Once you receive the reminder it is better to either post a cheque directly to the service provider or pay directly at an office of the company if such a facility is available. This is because payments through the post office or bank may take several days to process.

Agreeing a repayment plan

If you’re struggling to pay your bills, don’t ignore the problem and hope it will go away. If you contact your service provider to explain the situation, they must work with you to arrange a payment plan based on what you can afford to pay. If you don’t, you run the risk of being disconnected.

If your unpaid bills pile up your service provider will continue to pursue you for the money and they may take you to court.

Extra help if you're vulnerable

You may have extra protection from being disconnected if you:

  • are a pensioner
  • have long-term ill health
  • are disabled
  • have severe financial problems.

If you’re in one of these groups of people, make sure you tell your service provider this when you contact them.

Business bills – who’s responsible for the bill?

Sole trader or partner

If you are a sole trader or a partner of a business, you will be legally responsible for a bill if you are the named account holder. If there are two named account holders, you are both responsible. So, if you don’t pay the bill, the service provider can take action against you personally for the money - for example, they could disconnect your home service.

Limited company

If you own a Limited business and are behind with your business bill payments, the business is responsible. This means the service provider can't disconnect your personal home service if your business is behind with its payments.

If you are struggling with a business debt, contact Business Debtline at www.bdl.org.uk or phone 0800 197 6026.

Further information

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