Don't Get Caught Out by the Small Print

It is believed that two out of every five people will not take the time to read the finer contract details in their broadband and phone packages. As a consequence, these people are not aware of all the information that they are missing out on in the small print. By not reading the conditons attached to broadband and phone packages, there is a risk of missing certain technicalities which could cost you later.  All packages will have some small print, even if what is hiding in the small print varies. 

What is Hidden Within Your Contract?

What You Might Find

You might be wondering what is so important about paying close attention to the details . The fact is that this is where broadband providers obscure the things they don’t want you to know about the product or service you are getting. Often the really important details are mixed in with superfluos information that seems quite inconsequential or even irrelevant. Some of the things you might find include changes to the service that can be made by the provider, the additional costs you may have to pay, as well as the other terms and conditions that bind you into the contract.


Broadband and Phone Packages - Setup Costs

The most common piece of information that is obscured within the small print of broadband and phone package,s is the cost of setting up the service. These charges are extra to the main pricing of the package. The provider may not want you to know right away what they will be charging you until you have signed up to a contract .  If you search hard enough though,  you will find information about the amount you will be charged, what you are being charged for, and when you will have to pay the amount.

The set up cost is not the only information that will be included. You should also note that the cost of cancelling an installation date will be included. The document will also tell you about when the installation date will be set, how the date will be set, and what you may be charged to reschedule. It is important to know, for example, whether you will be charged if you cancel the appointment. Not all service providers will charge you for this, but they may have conditions regarding the notice you must provide them with. 

Broadband Speed

The broadband part of broadband and phone packages is the one that people are generally more worried about. This being the case, it is important that you know where to find information about the possible speed of your connection. The speed you see advertised is not actually the one you are likely to get. The advertised speed is the maximum speed which may be achieved, but it has been shown that only around 10% of people will get this advertised speed.  There are other factors that can affect the actual speed that you get which will be outlined in the small print. 

The fine print will tell you if your provider has the right to vary the speed you get. This can be done through a traffic management system or through a data management system. With both of these systems you may have your connection throttled during certain times of the day. The speed you get at peak times may drop greatly because of these management systems. It will also tell you if your package is part of the system or not. Many unlimited broadband packages will not be part of the traffic management system.  However, they may still be part of the data management system.  In these cases your connection will be throttled if you use over a certain amount of data at a certain time of day.  These times of day are usually the provider's peak times. 

If you are unhappy about the speeds you are getting the small print will tell you about your options. It will generally tell you the cancellation fees you will have to pay should you terminate your contract before it is over. These are usually based on the number of months you still have left on the contract. 

You Package Price

The price of you package may not remain constant for the entire time of the contract.  You may pay a lower rate at the start, and then have to pay a higher rate at the end. This is often detailed in the small print, as the large print simply tells you the best price of the package. It is also important that you look at the costs connected to the phone at this point. You will find information about the cost of calls on the phone, and whether the special rates you get are inclusive or free. At this time you also need to see what times are considered peak times by the provider, as you may pay more if you use your phone during these times. 

There are some service providers who include a clause in that allows them to change the price of the packages. This is not something you will see very often but you need to be aware that it can happen.  If this does happen the clause will state that the provider can increase the price of the package at their discretion. You will generally be given a leeway period where you can terminate the contract, but you may not.

Your Usage Caps

Most people think that usage caps are limited to the broadband aspect of these packages. That is not true, as there are limits on the calls as well. Even if your package offer free calls all weekend you will still have a time limit.  If the call continues for more than this amount of time you will be charged. The length will vary depending on your provider.

You should also look at the broadband limits that you will have.  If you use the internet a lot then you do not want to be stuck with a 10GB cap for the month, as you may well use this in a week. 

Final Thoughts

Reading through the small print in a contract may seem like a laborious process but in the long run may well be worth the time taken. Before signing any sort of contract it is important that you pay attention to the finer details because once you have signed, you have effectively agreed to everything contained within.


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