BT is the most popular internet service provider in the UK. It supplies over nine million households – including the Plusnet & EE brands it owns – and offers a wide range of download speeds, TV add-ons and landline deals, but it will not be the perfect provider for everyone. Whether you are looking to switch internet supplier because you have found a cheaper deal elsewhere, need a faster package or want a bigger TV bundle, cancelling BT broadband should not be complicated. In this article we explain how to cancel BT broadband, what it might cost you to leave and what to do after you have been disconnected.
How to cancel BT broadband if you’re out of contract
It is free and easy to cancel BT broadband if you are out of contract. Changing provider is especially simple if you are switching from one package powered by the Openreach network to another. All you need to do is sign up with the new company, who will then inform BT that you are leaving. You can read more about switching your broadband in our article ‘How to switch broadband provider’.
It is slightly more complicated if you cancel BT broadband to move to a full-fibre deal, a mobile internet provider, a cable broadband company – such as Virgin Media – or to get rid of your internet connection entirely. In these scenarios you would need to cancel BT broadband yourself by contacting customer services and giving 30 days notice that you would like to terminate your deal. If you are switching to an Openreach provider, the notice period is only 14 days.
Cancelling BT broadband by phone
You can cancel BT broadband over the phone by calling 0800 783 1401, or +44 150 174 7714 if you are outside the UK. Phone line operating hours are 8am to 9pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm Saturday and 9am to 6pm Sunday. Keep in mind that the call handler will attempt to convince you to sign up to a new 12, 18 or 24-month contract by offering you a discounted deal.
You will need to give your account number, full name and address in order to begin the cancellation process.
How to cancel BT broadband if you’re still in contract
You can cancel BT broadband while you are under contract, but it may not be free. BT will usually charge you your monthly fee multiplied by the months remaining on your contract, minus what it says are the savings from not needing to provide your broadband anymore. Here is an example of how your BT cancellation fee would be calculated. If your broadband deal costs £45 a month, plus a monthly discount of £10 and you want to cancel with six months left on your minimum term, BT would:
- Subtract your discount from the monthly charge (£45 - £10 = £35)
- Multiply by the number of months left on your deal (£35 x 6 months = £210)
- Subtract VAT (20% off £210 = £168)
- Subtract BT’s cost savings of £15 a month (£168 - £90 = £78)
- Subtract 1% discount for early final payment (1% off £78 = £77.22)
- Add VAT back on (£77.22 plus 20% = £92.66)
This would leave your total cancellation fees at £92.66.
How to cancel BT broadband for free
There are a few instances where you will not need to pay to cancel a BT broadband contract.
You will not have to pay a cancellation fee if you are still in your 14-day ‘cooling off period’. It is a legal requirement for internet service providers to give customers at least 14 days to change their mind after they sign up for a deal. This means you will be able to cancel without paying if you have second thoughts about opting for BT. If your service goes live within 14 days, you may still need to pay set-up and installation fees, or delivery fees if BT charges you to send out your router.
BT customers are also able to cancel for free if their monthly price is increased, unless they are told about a future price rise before they sign up. This means that if you are notified that your monthly fee will increase above the rate of inflation, you should be able to cancel BT broadband without needing to pay a penalty. Many contracts will include a clause on price rises, so check your paperwork to see if it mentions a future above-inflation hike. If it does not, you can get in touch with BT directly to query any price increase.
Your BT contract should include details of a minimum guaranteed speed. If you are not receiving at least this speed, you should be able to cancel BT broadband for free.
How to cancel BT broadband if it is too slow
BT has opted into Ofcom’s ‘Broadband Speeds Code of Practice’. This means that it must tell you the minimum speed it can provide to your home when you sign up, and it is to supply you with at least that speed. If BT fails to do that, you should be able to leave your contract without paying a termination fee. However, the process is not as simple as testing your speed, finding it is too slow, then immediately leaving for free. You will need to give BT the opportunity to fix any speed issues first.
After you notify BT that the speed you are getting is below your contractual minimum, it has 30 days to fix it if the fault is within the BT network. This will likely involve sending an engineer to your home to assess the connection, as well as investigating other parts of the infrastructure in your local area. If BT cannot increase your speed to the guaranteed minimum, you will be able to cancel BT broadband without paying a fee to leave.
A key point to remember is that the term ‘guaranteed minimum speed’ refers to the broadband speed that reaches your home, not what reaches your devices. Broadband speed can vary around your home for a number of reasons, so even if a speed test on your laptop is showing you are below the minimum, the speed supplied by BT could be higher.
Read more about broadband speeds in our article ‘What broadband speed do I need?’.
Before you cancel BT broadband
BT TV bundles are only available to BT broadband customers, so make sure you are happy to lose your TV deal before you cancel your broadband. If you are only interested in a TV bundle for football or rugby, sports fans can still get BT Sport through a Sky package or Plusnet TV deal, or by subscribing to the BT Sport app.
If you want to cancel BT broadband because your package is too expensive, it could be worth trying to haggle a new price first. There is a lot of competition for customers in the internet service provider market, which can lead to some companies investing in retaining existing customers. You can at least expect to be offered a deal that BT is currently selling to new customers, but it is a good idea to know how much the cheapest deals on the market cost before you pick up the phone.
The quickest way to compare broadband packages is usually via a comparison site such as Uswitch*. Comparison sites allow you to compare a number of the best deals side by side. We have partnered with Uswitch* to help our readers get the best broadband deals available, simply click on the link and enter your postcode to get started. Broadband deals can be tailored based on personal preference, with a number of filters allowing you to search by by price, speed, reliability, Wi-Fi coverage and customer service.
You could also use the ‘Ofcom broadband checker’ to find out what different types of broadband are available in your area. Customers who have been on the same deal for a long time may find that the roll out of full fibre or mobile broadband has reached their area. This could mean that there are a lot more options available compared to the last time you switched broadband.
You can find out more about the advantages and disadvantages of a BT broadband deal by reading our ‘BT broadband review’.
After you cancel BT broadband
After you cancel BT broadband, make sure you return any equipment you have been sent. BT should supply the packaging, though you may be able to return it to a local BT or EE shop instead. Customers who do not return a router after cancellation can be charged up to £50. If you joined BT before 13 December 2019, you may not need to return your equipment due to its age. You can contact BT directly to find out what equipment it will need back.
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