Landline - Contract is unfair

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It is not uncommon for suppliers to include what may be considered ‘unfair terms’ in their agreement with you and it is important to know, as a consumer, that these cannot be used as a defence by the supplier. Unfair terms are those which are included as standard terms, rather than those agreed between you and your supplier directly. Unfair terms include those such as:

  • those difficult to understand due to language or print
  • those giving the supplier the right to change the contract to benefit themselves
  • those giving the supplier considerably more cancellation rights than you
  • those stating that the supplier will not accept liability if they don’t do what the contract says they will do
  • those preventing you from carrying out your legal rights, such as withholding payments when you have a serious complaint about their goods and services or returning faulty goods.

Ensuring you understand

Often a home phone provider will ensure you understand the key contract terms. If you think that the contract is unfair, you should write to the customer services department of the company, and explain your concerns. It might be wise to do this when you notice the unfair terms, rather than when you wish to take action which is in breach of the unfair terms, as the process of challenging the unfair terms may take some time. You should ask the company to send you a new copy of the contract for your signature with the unfair terms removed.

You should know

  • The customer services deptartment of your home phone provider should acknowledge receipt of your issue within 14 days
  • You can take the case to an ombudsman eight weeks after you've raised your issue

What next

If you are unhappy with your home phone provider’s initial response, you should contact their customer services department via resolver, giving clear details of your case - such as what happened, when, and why you are complaining.

Once you have submitted your information to the company, they should acknowledge your case with 14 days.

If the company does not respond to your issue, then you should raise your case to the next level. The resolver system knows the next steps to take to escalate your issue and will remind you what to do and when, so that your voice is heard and hopefully your issue is addressed.

Your case is officially registered with the company as soon as the email is delivered and so you can escalate your case to an ombudsman after 8 weeks.

If you cannot resolve the issue

If the matter is still not resolved after eight weeks or if you receive a deadlock letter, you can send your case to the ombudsman. There are two ombudsmen in the telecoms market - CISAS or Ombudsman Services. resolver knows which one to send your case to. It will package your communications and all supporting documentation and send to the ombudsman.

The ombudsman will then independently undertake investigation of your case for free. You can still take your telephone provider to court if you still do not agree with the outcome, but only use this as a last resort.

If you need additional assistance

If you need additional advice and guidance on the issue you can contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

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Helping you with Contract is unfair

Resolver covers the issue Contract Is Unfair for 21 companies and organisations: