Can I leave my broadband contract early?

Switching broadband providers is key to finding a cheaper deal, but if you're mid-contract, leaving your broadband provider before your contract is up can cost you large.  This short guide covers what to consider when leaving and how much it might cost.

Will I be charged for leaving my broadband contract early?

Typically, if you leave your broadband provider before your contract is up, you'll likely have to pay a penalty to leave. How much varies depending on on your provider, but usually you'll have to pay for any outstanding months on your agreement. You may also need to pay for equipment your provider's sent you, such as your router.

However, if you are close to the end of your contract, use our Broadband comparison to see how much you could save by switching, and work out from there whether it's worth paying the early exit penalties. 

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Can I ever get out of my broadband contract without paying?

Getting out of a broadband contract without paying anything can be challenging. However, there are a few circumstances where you can leave penalty free:

  • You haggle your way out of the contract penalty-free. If you're not happy what you're paying, contact your provider and explain your situation. They might be willing to offer you a better-priced package, increased speeds or both. Do note, switching to a cheaper package would usually require you to sign up to a new contract. See our Broadband haggling guide for top tips for slashing your internet and line rental bills.

  • The provider's changed the terms. If your provider makes changes to the contract during your term, such as increasing prices significantly (beyond what's been outlined in your contract), you may be able to leave penalty-free. But it's now commonplace for providers to include annual price rises in its contracts, so this is becoming rarer.

  • There's a fault with your service. If your provider is signed up to Ofcom's Code of practice (most of the big providers are), it'll commit to providing you with a minimum download and upload speed.

    If it fails to meet these speeds once you've signed up, you can log a fault with your provider. Some providers, such as BT, allow you to do this online. Once logged, it'll carry out tests on your line and if it can't fix the issue within a certain timeframe, usually 30 days, you'll be able to leave penalty-free.

  • You're in the cooling-off period. When you initially sign up for a broadband contract, there's is usually a 14-day cooling-off period during which you can cancel without penalty, for any reason.

You'll usually need to return your equipment to avoid extra charges.

Most firms require you to return any equipment, such as your router, regardless of whether you're ending your contract early or not. If you don't it may charge you additional fees to cover its costs. For example, EE will charge up to £175 for failing to return its equipment. 

How to cancel your broadband - provider-by-provider help

Pick your provider for full help on how to cancel, and what your provider charges to do so. We've help for the following providers

How to cancel Sky broadband

The cost of ending your contract early with Sky is determined by several factors, including the remaining duration of your minimum term contract, any prepaid days already billed, and any additional subscriptions like Sky TV.

It's important to note that you must also return any equipment provided by Sky.

It's worth highlighting that Sky offers a more extended cooling off period compared to other providers. You have the freedom to cancel your contract within 31 days from the delivery or activation of your router, without incurring any exit fees.

However, if you wish to cancel your broadband after the cooling off period has passed, you must provide Sky with a notice of 14 days.

How to cancel BT broadband

BT charges an 'early termination fee' based on how many months you have left on your contract at the time of cancellation (minus VAT), although from this it’ll subtract 1% if you send your final payment early, as well as take off any costs it’ll save as a result of you leaving early. It'll then add VAT to the final amount.

If you cancel part way through a month, it’ll work out the charge on a pro rata basis.

You’ll need to give 30 days’ notice before you leave.

How to cancel Virgin Media broadband

Virgin Media determines its termination charges by considering multiple factors, including the specific services you subscribe to (such as a Virgin Media phone plan or Virgin Media TV), the corresponding costs of these services, and the remaining duration of your minimum contractual commitment for each individual service.

Should you decide to terminate your Virgin Media broadband contract early, especially if you have bundled services, it's important to note that the accumulated exit fees could add up to a significant amount.

How to cancel Vodafone broadband

To calculate your total charges when leaving your contract early, Vodafone will total all the outstanding monthly payments.

Secondly, it will remove the VAT from the total remaining and subtract any savings it incurs as a result of your early termination, including payments to suppliers.

Additionally, if you choose to make your final payment ahead of schedule, it provides an additional 1% deduction since it receives the entire sum at once, rather than spread out over the remaining contract months. Lastly, it will then add on VAT to the final figure.

How to cancel EE broadband

EE charges an 'early termination fee' based on how many months you have left on your contract at the time of cancellation (minus VAT), although from this it’ll subtract 4% if you send your final payment early, as well as take off any costs it’ll save as a result of you leaving early. It'll then add VAT to the final amount.

If you cancel part way through a month, it’ll work out the charge on a pro rata basis.

You’ll need to give 30 days’ notice before you leave.

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