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Landline - home move and disputed charges

  • Published Nov 18, 2022
Landline home move and disputed charges

A case study in which a consumer moved house mid-contract and was mis-sold a new contract.


"I was 12 months into an 18-month contract for phone line and broadband with my provider when I moved house. As I was still in contract I called my provider to see what my options were.

I was told there was cancellation charges, but they were quite high, and I was generally happy with the service, so I said I'd prefer to carry on the 6 months left of my contract to my new address and requested a home move. The advisor said I'd need to enter into another 18-month contract. The advisor then tried to upsell to get me to switch to fibre. I stated I didn't need any faster broadband but as I had said I occasionally work from home the advisor said that I'd be better upgrading from adsl to fibre. As it was only an extra £6 a month I agreed as I thought I'd basically be taking a package as a new customer with a new 18-month contract and was getting the best deal.

At no point was I told that the newly agreed monthly price incorporated charges associated with a home move. These charges were not explained to me; I have emails which state the engineers charges have been waived. I understood that in June there would be a price rise but when I saw and heard adverts on the radio for the same package I was on for £21.99 when I'm paying over £27, I phoned up to see if I could renegotiate my deal as found this unfair.

The advisor on the phone said as I was in contract there was nothing I could do. I found this hard to believe so raised a complaint online which has now resulted in deadlock as my provider say I was aware of the associated charges of a home move but at no point did any engineer enter or need access to any of my addresses; I have an email saying the engineer charges are waived; and I cannot see what the charges are associated to the move. If I had been given the information on the charges and how much they would be I would have preferred to have the option to pay these up front rather than my monthly bill be higher, but these charges were not explained to me, and the offer was never made.

I requested that I get treated fairly and that my monthly price for my service should be the same as a new customer £21.99 and that it should have been that since the start of my new contract, but that request has ended in deadlock.

I would like the price of my monthly service to be the same as a new customers of £21.99.

I would also like the extra I've been charged since my home move in November 2020 to be refunded."

Our remedies

  • Issue one: the home move.

"The consumer was given options about how to complete the home move order. There is no requirement to record calls, and if they are made, they should not be kept for longer than the purposes the call recording was made. So, we wouldn’t criticise the company for no longer having this.

The provider outlines three options for a home move when a consumer is still within the commitment period, one is the consumer pays the early termination fee (£87.01) and obtains service at their new address either with the provider, or a competitor, that a new contract is taken out at the new property if the consumer wishes, or a small fee of £65 as an installation fee is made to move the service over to the new address without the requirement to increase the term.

I am of the view that the consumer did not wish to pay the early termination fee, and only suggests that they would have paid the fee for the new property to keep the existing contract after the fact. I consider it more likely than not, as the advisor gave two options for the home move, it is likely that he also may have given the third.

The consumer clearly opted to upgrade the service, by their own admissions, they were happy with the service that the provider gave. We also must point out that on receipt of the order confirmation, and the direction to the terms and conditions that were given, that the consumer could also have cancelled this order within 14 days if they had a change of mind. The consumer did not do this.

As the consumer did not question, query, or cancel the contract, we have to assume that they were happy with it, and I am satisfied that the home move order was completed in line with the provider’s processes and that the consumer was aware that they were entering into a new contract.

There is a question mark around an engineer’s fee of £49.99. It is clear from the order confirmation that this is not payable and has been removed. The fee of £65 for the home move if you do not wish to take out a contract, is detailed within the terms and conditions. The Consumer did not pay to move the service.

  • Issue two – Price rise.

The consumer complains that their price has risen. The provider gave notification that the contract price was subject to RPI, and CPI price rises annually. This was in the order confirmation, and I consider it likely this was discussed over the telephone during the ordering process. Again, if the consumer disagreed with these charges, they could have used the cancellation period.

The consumer also raises the point that new customers were paying less for service. The provider’s deals do change frequently so not all deals are available all of the time for every customer. I can appreciate why the consumer may feel aggrieved about this but as the offers change frequently, and indeed have since the consumer brought the complaint to us, there is no guarantee that the cost of service won’t change. The consumer has agreed to the contract and indicated that they were happy with the cost of the service at the time they took out the contract.

It is all about timing, and the consumer should have been given the best tariff for the contract agreed to.

The provider has met regulatory obligations in notifying about any price increase and provided the adequate notification of the contract and cancellation rights as mentioned within issue one.

I decided that no remedy or award is appropriate for this case. I do not think that the provider has done anything wrong and has met all regulatory requirements."

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