I’ve been renting accommodation for around 11 months, with Virgin Media as my provider. Now I’m moving house and renting a new place with my girlfriend. I’ve been given two options: take the original package with me, as I’m still under contract or pay £110 to disconnect the package completely. This is absolute daylight robbery in my eyes, and I’m in no position to fork out more money after all of this. Please let me know where I stand on this, and what I can do to resolve it.
Lee, via email, 23 February 2012
Our expert Dominic says...
Hi Lee, this situation sounds very frustrating. Moving home can be stressful enough in itself, and that's without the added complication of carrying over broadband from a previous property.
When moving home it is usually least problematic and costly to remain with the same service provider, especially if you are still within the initial contract period. However, some providers may insist that you restart your contract when you move.
Because you will probably be moving again in six months time, and will have to pay a disconnection fee at some point anyway, you may be better off looking at short term contracts which are much more flexible.
The following tips may help you decide what to do about your broadband when moving home:
Find out who supplies broadband in your new area
In your case, it is important to remember that Virgin Media (www.virginmedia.com) is not available everywhere. I suggest that you find out whether or not your current provider is able to supply you with broadband in your new location. If they can't, there isn't much point worrying about whether to cancel the contract or not, as you won't have a choice.
You can use our Ofcom accredited Broadband Calculator to find out which providers are available in your area and compare broadband.
Give your provider as much information as possible
As soon as you know you will be moving, speak to your current provider (Virgin Media expects at least one month's notice). Ensure you are speaking to the correct department, communicate clearly and try to give them as much information as possible regarding when you are moving and to where.
Doing this early will give you more time to consider your options and will avoid a mad panic at the last minute.
Ask your current provider about your options and what they recommend you should do, but remember to check out the best broadband deals from other leading providers, to ensure you are getting the best value package. Also, it doesn't hurt to haggle with your current provider for a better deal.
Carry or Cancel
The questions to consider are:
- Are you happy with the service of your current provider? (Read our to compare customer service.)
- Are you happy with your connection speed? (Use our speed tester to see how your ISP is performing)
- Are you getting the best value deal? (compare broadband offers with our Broadband Calculator)
- What are the cancellation costs?
- What are the costs of moving your current broadband to your new property?
- What would be the cost of switching providers (Read our top ten tips on switching broadband)?
Most providers will charge you for cancelling a contract before the minimum term has ended, whether the charge is a lump sum payment for the cost of the remaining months or the cost of returning "free" hardware (for example your modem and/or wireless router).
Because you are still under contract, Virgin will only charge you for the remainder of the contract you agreed to.
If your new property is able to receive Virgin Media services then Virgin can offer you the transfer of services free of charge, which is generous compared to BT's £125 line set up charge. However, choosing to move home with Virgin Media will require you to renew your 12 month contract. If you do move again in six months time you will be faced with the same dilemma that you are now and may end up having to pay the disconnection fee at that point.
Having to renew your contract is unfortunate, but its also important to remember that it is possible to get broadband without a landline from Virgin media, something that is unique to the UK. Having said that, I would recommend that you choose short term broadband contacts or no contract broadband now which will allow you much more freedom in the future.
Long and short contract broadband
If you know that you will be moving home fairly frequently (i.e. you will not remain in the same property for 12 months), then it's a much better idea to choose a broadband contract that is as flexible as you are.
Steer clear of contracts that will tie you in for 12 months, and avoid 24 month contracts like the plague.
You will have to pay an initial connection charge of £29.99, but this will most likely work out cheaper than having to cancel a lengthier contract.
Unless you're a heavy downloader, it's definitely worth looking into mobile broadband. It's easy to take mobile broadband with you wherever you go, whether this is moving house or simply going to the park.
Mobile broadband in the UK is still a fairly new technology, but it is becoming faster (boasting a current top speed of 7.2Mbps), more affordable (currently available from as little as £10 a month) and more widely available (now covering 90% of the country).
Click Here to compare mobile broadband deals
To use mobile broadband you simply sign up to a mobile broadband provider, who will supply you with a USB modem (or dongle). You can then plug this into any PC you want and connect to the internet wherever you are.
Mobile broadband modems use the 3G network and connect to the internet wirelessly. So, unlike traditional broadband options, they don't require a phone line and as such could save you up £132 a year.
You can choose from pay monthly, pay-as-you-go or even pay-per-day mobile broadband packages, but whichever you choose, you won't end up in the same position you are now - when you do move house you can take your mobile broadband with you without having to renew a contract and without needing any assistance from your provider.
If you are in need of a new laptop, T-mobile are currently offering mobile broadband with a 3GB allowance for £30 a month including a free laptop and wireless dongle.
Disconnection fees are expensive, so avoid taking on a long contract unless you are confident that you can see it to the end. If you want the freedom to move about as you please then choose a short contract broadband option or mobile broadband, which will allow you to remain much more flexible.
Good luck with the move Lee!