Loyalty doesn’t pay – learn the art of bailing out early
WE can’t say it enough – stay loyal to a business and you’re likely to end up paying more.
But some contracts are complicated – and many will charge exit fees – so here are our tips.
It seems obvious, but how many of us really do know if we’re reaching the end of our contracts?
Get your bank and/or credit card statements and go back through them for 13 months (the extra month is to cover any payment dates that might have shifted).
Put any policies, contracts, subscriptions or agreements on a spreadsheet, app or old-fashioned list! Why not set up a calendar reminder a month before the renewal date so you have time to shop around?
Perhaps it’s time to let rip?
Nothing lasts forever and over the course of a year, the service that businesses offer you will change too.
A good example for 2020 is streaming and broadband services. Disney recently pulled tons of its previously licenced programs and films from other broadband and streaming services.
If you can demonstrate the channels or programmes you watched made up the majority of your viewing you could, in theory, break the contract.
Put your case to the business and ask them to waive any leaving fees. But bear in mind if you’re not being significantly affected by the changes, you might still have to pay to leave.
Sometimes relationships with businesses break down and you shouldn’t have to be tied to them by a contract if they’ve behaved badly.
As with any relationship, it pays to be honest with yourself about where the blame lies. If a business has treated you badly and refuses to listen, then make a complaint to an ombudsman or alternative dispute resolution scheme (ADR) if need be. Make sure that you specify in your complaint that you want to move on without charge. Resolver can help you make a complaint – or even pass on your comments – to a business for free.
One of the big areas of complaint we’ve seen involves people moving to other parts of the UK where a service is poor or unavailable – common with broadband, cable or mobile phone services.
If your service isn’t available in your new home you shouldn’t have to pay an exit fee, yet some firms (particularly broadband providers) are still digging their heels in over this. Don’t take no for an answer. Be polite but firm and ask the business to waive charges if you can’t get the service – and go to the free ombudsman service if they don’t listen.
Contracts are a nightmare to decipher sometimes, largely because businesses like to build in ‘get out of jail free’ clauses should they change the rules or how they do business.
Most sectors allow a contract change mid-way through. But if the change is ‘significant’ and – more importantly – you’ll be paying more money; you should have the opportunity to get out of the contract without charge.
However, you’ll be given a window of opportunity for this and if you don’t respond in time, you’ll often be charged.
You can use Resolver to make your voice heard to almost any business in the UK for free! Get started at resolver.co.uk