A reliable internet connection is no longer a luxury—it’s a necessity. But while the demand for stable broadband increases, some providers in the UK are employing underhanded tactics to exploit the unsuspecting consumer. Things like:

1. Hidden fees in the fine print

Providers have a knack for advertising appealing monthly rates. It seems like a deal too good to pass up until you notice the unexpected costs. These could be installation fees, router rental charges, or ambiguous “service fees.” What really pisses me off? They’re often discreetly tucked away in the contract’s fine print.

2. Low introductory rates

This is a classic. An irresistibly low rate for the first few months. Yet, as the introductory period concludes, prices surge. By then, you’re trapped in a contract, and the threat of early termination fees looms large. In my experience, BT is particularly guilty of this one:-(

3. Subpar speeds

“Up to” - two words that can be so misleading (see my guide on speeds). Some providers will boast speeds “up to” a certain threshold. Yet, the reality often falls short, leaving you paying for a service standard you’re not receiving.

4. Difficult customer service

Customer service, what customer service? Good luck with that. Some broadband providers seem almost ghost-like when you try to reach them. Endless automated systems, lengthy wait times, and representatives who can’t assist. As more companies land their fibre-to-premises offers (see BeFibre for a great example) we should see an improvement in customer services. Historically, many better deals came from BT resellers who basically couldn’t do anything to help when things went wrong)

5. Binding long-term contracts

Longevity can be a good thing, but 18 months? Really?!? A contract can feel like an eternity, especially if the service is substandard. And if you contemplate leaving? There’s a hefty exit fee waiting!

Protecting yourself in the broadband jungle

Knowledge is power.

  • Read the fine print: Before diving in, scrutinise that contract. Understand every term, every cost. Ask questions. Clarity is paramount.
  • Research and Reviews: In the digital age, customers have a voice. Use it. Explore reviews. Websites like Trustpilot or ISPreview can provide valuable insights into user experiences.

Speed matters.

  • Test the speed: Once you’re connected, regularly test your speed. Ensure you’re getting what you paid for.
  • Negotiate: If things go south, talk to your provider. Sometimes, a simple conversation can lead to a better deal.
  • Stay ready to jump ship: Loyalty is commendable. But not when it’s at the cost of quality. If your provider isn’t cutting it, switch. Shop around. Find better.

In a world where we’re so reliant on digital stuff, settling for subpar broadband service isn’t an option. Stay informed, stay vigilant, and demand the service you deserve.