Switcher.ie’s latest survey of early exit fee awareness and costs for consumers in Ireland found that Magnet was the only Irish broadband provider NOT to charge early exit fees.
Switcher.ie Survey finds Contract Confusion a Major Theme
Shocking findings emerged that 74% of consumers don’t know about early exit penalties on their contracts for household essentials from broadband, phone, energy and gas bills. A third are unsure whether they would have to pay a fine and a further 41% don’t know they amount they could be penalised by.
The survey found that almost all broadband, phone and energy companies charge early exit fees, which can amount to hundreds of Euro, depending on provider and service and when it came to broadband Magnet are the only provider offering a no contract broadband option.
Switcher.ie encourages consumers to pay special attention to the minimum term, discount period and early exit fees when they’re signing up to any contract.
Consumers who are trying to calculate early exit fees for their broadband and mobile phone contracts may have difficulty finding this information. Switcher.ie’s investigation found that the majority of broadband and mobile phone providers will require customers to pay the monthly charge for the remainder of the term.
Given the costs involved, the lack of transparency and understanding around minimum contract terms and early exit fees could have a significant financial impact on consumers.
Contract-free Broadband a Growing Demand
Former CEO of Magnet Networks commented, “We set out to make it attractive to stay with Magnet, rather than unattractive to leave, by providing contract-free broadband and the most competitive broadband rate at €41.99 for 24Mb. To win customer trust you must provide transparency, choice and control.”
Eoin Clarke, Managing Director at Switcher.ie, said: “It’s vital that a lack of transparency around minimum terms and early exit fees does not become a barrier to switching. The market for household essentials is competitive at the moment, so if consumers are aware of when their minimum term ends, they can freely shop around for a better deal, which will help them to keep their costs down.
“It’s also important that the early exit fees actually reflect the cost to a supplier of a customer ending their contract early. Arguably, charging someone the full monthly cost for a product or service they are no longer receiving is not an early exit fee, as they’re basically being required to pay the full value of their contract”.