Loy­alty doesn’t pay – learn the art of bail­ing out early

Manchester Evening News - - YOUR MONEY -

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

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