Hello, I am writing on behalf of my boyfriend and his flatmate, to try and find out if their broadband provider - BE broadband - is allowed to tie them into a new 12-month contract because they moved house. They didn't give them any new equipment or enhance their package, so is BE really allowed to do this? The reason I ask is because they want to switch to another provider but have been told they have to pay to leave. If BE broadband hasn't given them anything new when they moved house, surely there is no reason why their tie-in period should have been extended?
Katie Louise Hassall, via email
Our expert Dominic says...
Hello there Katie, and thanks for your email.
A few Broadbandchoices.co.uk users have asked similar questions recently regarding whether or not their contract will be renewed if they transfer their broadband to a new address, and it can be a confusing issue.
This is because each individual broadband provider has their own policy when it comes to the contract terms of their customers who are moving house.
However, there are a few things to bear in mind when moving house that will apply no matter who your provider is.
Firstly, if your minimum contract length has been reached, then your provider will not be able to renew your contract when you move home unless you choose to renew it yourself - you are free to switch provider without being charged early termination fees.
However, such fees are likely to apply if you haven't served your minimum contract term and you want to leave your current provider when moving house to avoid your contract being renewed.
You are also likely to find that your provider will want you to start a new contract if you add extra services to your broadband package at your new address, by upgrading to a broadband and phone package or broadband and TV package, for example.
Finally, it is a good idea to get in contact with your provider well in advance of moving house to find out whether your contract will be renewed if you transfer your broadband to your new address and what, if any, charges you might incur for cancelling your contract.
What is my broadband provider's policy on renewing contracts when moving house?
However, if you have a BE broadband landline installed at your new address, the provider will start you on a new 12-month contract as you are adding an extra service. However, BE broadband will explain this before you go ahead with it.
If it's broadband and landline that you're moving, again there will be no need to start a new contract. If you need to have a new landline installed at your new address, BE broadband will do this for free if you start a new 12-month contract.
If you are a BE broadband customer looking to switch provider when moving house, or BE broadband cannot supply their service to your new address, then you will be charged "any termination fees applicable for your account".
However, these are only applicable if you are still under contact with BE broadband, otherwise you simply need to give them one month's notice that you wish to cancel your service.
It will only cost you to transfer your service to your new home if you need a new phone line (which will cost you up to £130), upgrade your service - to BT Infinity for example - or you want to cancel your broadband but are still within your minimum contract period.
If this is the case, early termination fees will apply depending on how long there is left on your contract and what kind of package you are signed up to.
The provider does not charge anything for transferring you broadband to a new address, but advises customers who do not subscribe to Sky Line Rental to check with their landline provider that they do not charge for house moves.
However, you'll be happy to hear that transferring your TalkTalk broadband service to your new address won't cost you anything.
As is common practice, you will be charged an early termination fee if you choose not to take your Virgin Media broadband with you when you move home before your contract is up.
You must also return your Virgin Media Super Hub router - which Virgin Media will arrange to collect - or you will be charged for it.
Whichever broadband provider you are with, always contact them well in advance of moving home to find out whether doing so will mean your contract will be renewed.
Also ask if there are any one-off charges involved in transferring your service to your new address and, if you are considering switching provider, whether you will have to pay any early termination fees if you are still under contract.