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How to switch broadband provider

Latest news for switching ISPSo you’ve found a new broadband provider with the speed, unlimited downloads and quality of service you want – or you’re just sick of your current provider.

How do you get out? Follow our step-by-step guide.

BT Home Hub

1. Do you want a broadband or phone bundle?

You can save money on your home phone and broadband by getting them rolled up with a TV package, but beware – it will be harder to break out if you’re not happy with any part of the service, and contracts can be 18 or 24-months long instead of 12 months.

You don’t have to go for Sky like a complete TV addict, maybe BT Vision meets your needs, or YouView.

2. Are you out of contract?

Most broadband providers have a minimum contract term, and you’ll get hit with a hefty admin fee if leave before it’s up. You normally have to give your provider one month’s notice (30 or 28 days) at the end of your lock-in, so work it out and tell them on what date you’d like to leave.

You might be able to get out early if the service is truly shoddy. Check the small print of your contract, but in most cases they will have covered themselves.

3. Get your MAC code – if you need it

Your Migration Authorisation Code (MAC) is an alphanumeric number which your new broadband provider will need to instigate your switch.

Some ISPs will need you to contact your existing provider to get your MAC code, but it’s increasingly possible to do switch without it. Always ask your new provider if you need to get your MAC code, just in case.

Your old provider is obliged to give it to you and you should receive it within five days. You then have 30 days to give it to a new provider, who should handle the rest of the switch. If they put you on hold or keep offering you different pacages to make you stay, ask to speak to the complaints department instead. That usually speeds things up.

4. Don’t leave it too long

If you’ve given your old provider advance notice that you’re leaving, don’t hang about to find a new one. It normally takes a couple of weeks to arrange a switchover date and post your new router – longer if you’re getting fibre broadband and they’ve got to send a tech guy to install it.

5. Return your old router

BT, Virgin and some other providers own the broadband router or modem they supplied, so they may want it back when you leave (even if it’s obsolete). Make sure they send a pre-paid envelope, but don’t forget or they may send you a bill.

8. Keep the paperwork

It’s dull, but always keep the paperwork in a safe place and make sure you can find any emails about your new provider and the switch from your old provider. The minute they’re lost is the minute you’ll need them.

Recombu’s tips

  • Get a better deal

Even with a MAC code and the obligations on providers to make switching smooth, it can go wrong and even in the best cases, you’ll have a short period without broadband. Unless you’re really unhappy, this is a great opportunity to push for a better deal.

Have a look at what other providers are offering, decide what you want and how much you want to pay, and stick it to them! The sales retention team have all sorts of offers and flexibility the regular sales team can’t give you.

  • Watch your direct debits

Some broadband providers (no names) have been known to keep charging after you’ve left them, so watch out for unexpected payments. And don’t let them charge for an old router or broadband modem: if they want it back they can send you a pre-paid envelope.

Latest news for switching broadband and phone providers


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