Owning a mobile phone in the UK is a challenge — there are so many providers, and that means that there are a lot of different choices to be had. You just need to make sure that you get the network that’s going to meet your needs and stay with that — unless something better comes along, of course!
Yet what if you end up where you constantly don’t get a signal? Wouldn’t that mean that your service is unusable? That could mean that you get a few more options than you might expect at first.
First and foremost, you need to know your rights. Under the current UK law, a mobile network doesn’t have to cancel a mobile contract due to bad network coverage. Yet there are stirrings that this could change — the Communications Consumer Panel has suggested to Ofcom that all mobile network providers do offer a 14 day cancellation period to protect customers. That should give you plenty of time to really see whether or not a network is going to work out for you.
You have to check with the network specifically that you’re on to see what your contract says. It is possible to get a cancellation without a penalty if you can prove that it’s hard to actually use the phone and service that you’ve paid for.
There is a cooling off period of 7 days if you ordered your contract online, by phone, or through the post. Yet you have to be cautious on getting phones from a store kiosk — your ability to cancel will depend on the specific store’s return and cancellation policy. If you are going to order your phone from the store, you should also make sure that you talk to the store representative carefully. You want to get their name and store ID so that if there are any questions, you can get it sorted out right away.
Some networks do include a guarantee of acceptable network coverage, which means that you can cancel the service if you find that you don’t have a good signal.
A rival provider could also offer to buy you out, which means that you wouldn’t be out any money at all. Many competing cell phone providers do this in order to get customers that normally wouldn’t switch due to the heft cancellation fee that would be involved.
At the end of the day, the truth is that it’s really a mixed bag — you might be able to get out of your contract, and you might not. It’s going to be up to you to look at the fine print involved and see what you want to do.
Keep in mind that some networks even let you pay your cancellation fee in pieces if it applies to you. So there wouldn’t be an expectation to actually pay it if you honestly couldn’t pay it all at once. It really can be a lot of money!