Sunday, October 19, 2008

Broadband Users Advised To Consider Costs Of Their Contract

Although it may not be the most exciting thing to do, it is important for broadband users to take the time to check the small print to their contract.

However such inaction could potentially leave customers out of pocket, as the price comparison website revealed that just under a quarter (24 per cent) of Britons have been hit with charges and fees which they were not expecting to pay. Meanwhile, one in four consumers were indicated as only skimming over the details of their contract. So claims moneysupermarket in which a recent study showed that some eight per cent of people state they not bother reading the terms and conditions of their broadband service.

Among the hidden charges that consumers often discover that they are landed with include moving and installation costs. Meanwhile, paying for bills, exceeding download limits and the expense of calling a helpline were pointed out as additional ways internet users might find themselves inuring financial pressure. However, moneysupermarket indicated that such charges vary among broadband suppliers.

It was pointed out that Direct Save and Virgin charge their consumers 40 and 30 pounds respectively in one-off set-up fees. Research from the firm also showed that Virgin charges an extra five pounds per month for those consumers who do not pay their bills via direct debit. Meanwhile, those who decide to cancel their contract within the first 12 months of opening it up will find themselves charged around 50 pounds if they are customers with either Be or Direct Save.

Following on from facing a broadband bill which is much higher than expected, it may be possible that people encounter greater difficulties in paying for other household utilities such as gas, electricity and water. In addition, this might impact upon their capacity to meet other areas of financial demand such as personal loans, credit and store cards and mortgage repayments.

Commenting on the research, Rob Barnes, head of mobile and broadband for the price comparison site, said: "With so many offers out there it 's easy to be blinded by the headlines and enter into a contract without thinking about what it entails. Remember, if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. With this in mind its so important customers read their contracts. By not doing this, people are clearly unaware of what extra costs may be lurking in the small print and as a result, could end up with a huge unexpected bill at the end of the month."

Meanwhile, people should also know how much they will be charged for calling for technical advice and exceeding download limits. In an attempt to counter receiving a shock bill, consumers were advised to check their contract to make sure they are aware of any charges for cancelling their service.

Last month, Chris Tapp from Credit Action reported that many consumers are not fully aware of the financial products they sign up to, only to come under financial pressure later on. However as with a broadband package, it is advisable for those looking to take out a loan to check the terms to their contract before signing on the dotted line. In selecting this type of loan, borrowers may find that they are able to merge demands for repayment across a number of sources, such as household bills and credit cards, into a single low-cost monthly outgoing.

For those consumers looking for a way in which to reduce financial pressures taking out a consolidation loan may be advisable.


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