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Fear of having no internet means Brits miss out on £100+ annual savings

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Written by: Paloma Kubiak
31/01/2017
Broadband users say the thought of being without the internet puts them off switching to a better deal, but making the move could save them £100+ on bills each year.

Consumers are missing out on a collective saving of £327m a year – £118 each – because their bad experience of switching providers, which left them without internet, is putting them off doing it again.

According to comparison site uSwitch.com, while the average saving for switching provider is £9.80 a month, one in 10 could save more than £240 a year.

But with the dependency on broadband growing as a quarter of Brits now rely on internet connections to work from home, uSwitch.com said this may explain why just one in 10 have switched deals in the past year.

Its research also found that a fifth of people have not moved provider in over five years, while 35% have never switched provider.

Of the 55% who have reported being without broadband between providers, the average length of downtime is 1.4 days, while 10% reported spending one to two weeks without broadband. A small 6% had to wait longer than three weeks.

Regionally, internet users in London waited the longest for broadband switch-on – an average of 2.3 days.

‘You have every right to be incensed’

Ewan Taylor-Gibson, broadband expert at uSwitch.com, said you should generally allow around two weeks from the point of sale to get your new broadband installed.

“If this is delayed, or you’re forced to live without internet, now deemed an essential service, you have every right to be incensed. At the very least, it can be irritating for those who enjoy internet TV services, but it can also seriously impact those who are isolated, work from home or need access to critical services online.

“Unless you’re switching providers on the same existing line – a transfer that can happen automatically on the same day – there is often an element of physical installation involved. There are a range of factors that can hold up the installation process – such as if you need a new Openreach home phone line installed, or if you’re signing up to Virgin and your property hasn’t yet been connected to their cable network. These potential delays should be factored in when looking to switch.”

Taylor-Gibson said the industry should do better and providers should strive to “remove the pain” caused to consumers by unplanned hold-ups, which currently act as a barrier to switching.

“A system such as the introduction of automatic compensation could act as a solid incentive to encourage providers to work better at providing a more seamless switching service. We’re hoping providers will be further held to account as a result of upcoming changes in the Government’s Digital Economy Bill.”

Telecoms regulator Ofcom currently expects providers to tell customers at the point of sale the likely date the service will be provided. If this isn’t the case, you can make a formal complaint via the customer service department.

If the problem isn’t resolved, then you can escalate it to an Alternative Dispute Resolution Scheme. Your provider must tell you which ADR scheme it’s a member of.

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