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Let consumers ditch and switch – McGahon

1st April 2024 - Senator John McGahon

Consumers should be allowed to cancel their TV and internet service contracts which have ended without giving 30 days notice, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Senator John McGahon said: “Virgin Media and Three Ireland are two such providers who insist on asking customers to give 30 days notice to cancel their contract, even if it has come to an end. This is proving a massive disincentive for customers to switching providers and saving money.

“The imposition by some telecommunications companies on customers of a 30 day notice period before they can switch is essentially charging customers to leave as consumers typically want to switch providers once their contact is up to save money.

“Customers should receive proper, written notice that their contract is coming to an end and inform them of what their options are once it has ended, but this is not happening with all providers. When customers contact the company themselves to finish their contract, they are then being told they must give 30 days notice. This is a sneaky tactic used by providers, as this contract cessation process is not always explicitly stated when providers are getting consumers to sign up to their services in the first place.

“In 2022, ComReg brought commercial court proceedings against Virgin, alleging non-compliance with Universal Service Regulations because its process for allowing a customer to switch providers acts as a disincentive – however, the company still continues to make customers give 30 days notice.

“This is a rip off for consumers that comes amid a backdrop of mobile and internet service providers linking the price of their mobile and broadband packages to inflation, with increases of 3% on top of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate of inflation each year. While inflation has fallen in recent months, prices show no sign of falling and customers are hit with a double whammy of being trapped in their contract for 30 more days if they want to switch to a cheaper provider.

“Consumers deserve better and ComReg needs to come down harder on telecommunications providers who are insisting on the 30 day rule,” Senator McGahon concluded.

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