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Can my telecoms provider hold me to contract?

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  • Can my telecoms provider hold me to contract?

    Hi, i have searched for this but either couldn't see anything that hit the nail on the head, i hope someone can help.

    I run a GP Practice (Partnership) and i inherited telecoms contracts from my predecessor. She signed a 12 month contract in 2011for lines and calls which are now extremely out dated. After much negotiation, I wish to move to a new provider but they claim i am in contract for a further 12 months as i did not provide notice between 90 and 120 days prior to the contract end date. I feel aggrieved as, amongst other things:

    1. I was negotiating with them during this period and was told point blank by their sales person that my contract was due to expire on 1st June (giving me plenty of time to cancel as per terms). Upon cancellation in writing they claimed to have 'gotten it wrong' and that i've actually just missed the cutoff, stating that knowing the end date is my responsibility.

    2. They have offered me a settlement figure for the cost of a) a years worth of line rental, a huge penalty figure PLUS a months average call spend x12. For a £270 per month bill, settlement is almost £4000.

    I requested a copy of the contract signed in 2012 - it is very light on specifics, only stating an 'average' cost per month (how this was signed, i don't know). It also has no T's & C;s present but simply states 'by signing this document, you are accepting the Terms and conditions on our website'. Surely these could have been changed multiple times since 2011?!

    We are a Partnership and for lease agreements fall under the consumer credit act.

    Can anyone see a way out of this for us?

    Thanks you in advance,

    Rob
    Tags: None

  • #2
    This might be of interest( ref express consent for small businesses https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/asse...quirements.pdf
    )


    I think we'd need to see the contract and the terms - you should have had the terms in writing at the time of entering into the contract - it seems likely it will be a business to business contract so protections are limited but the Ofcom info might be useful.

    When you first contacted the firm and negotiating with them did you say you wanted to cancel and then they encouraged you to negotiate rather than cancel ( if the was before the 3 month notice period you might have an out )

    see if the 'website terms' are stored from 2012 on the way back archive - search on the url of the main website, find the relevant date and see if the link to the terms was stored - https://archive.org/web/

    has there been no contact / communication / updates / change of price etc since 2012 ?

    What date was the original contract signed.
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    • #3
      This may be worth a read - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/unfair-t...atic-rollovers

      Who is the Telco provider or are they just an agent/broker?

      Comment


      • #4
        How many actual employees do you have?

        Comment


        • #5
          Sounds like a B2B relationship so as Amethyst has already mentioned, consumer rights are unlikely to apply in this situation as you are not "acting wholly or mainly outside your trade, business, craft or profession".

          BT are right, however, in that it is your responsibility to check the contract and make sure you comply with any cancellation notice under the agreement. So the answer is yes, BT can hold you to the contract if you did not comply with its terms.

          It might be worthwhile holding out for the remaining 12 months and/or giving your notice now that you wish to cancel (if the contract terms allow) on X date. A costly mistake, but one I'm sure you will not make again.
          Check out some useful guides below

          A guide to voluntary termination
          Seting aside a CCJ
          Completing an N180 Form

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          Comment


          • #6
            Hi All, thank for your prompt replies, some really useful information there.

            AMETHYST - I've tried the Archive.org form your suggestion button no avail. Great resource though. Regarding the negotiation period, although i only entered into discussion with them in January, i requested the contract end dates in December (the previous Practice Manager didn't keep adaquate records). If they had told me the correct dates, i would have had time to cancel. Whether their 'mistake' is due to dishonesty or human error is debatable (i'm heavily leaning towards the former) but it allows them to tie me in without much recourse, based on their accurate claim that i'm probably responsible for knowing the dates.

            PLODDERTOM - I presume you're asking about the size of the practice to see whether we fall under small business protection? Unfortunately, although we're a small Partnership (3 of them) and come under the consumer credit act, we do have 120 staff, though around 8 are part time. Any chance that as a partnership, we may have some consumer level protection? It says in their current Terms that businesses with under 10 employees don't get rolled into a new contract but do need to give 90 days notice. I'd be happy with that!

            The provider is Telesis in Bolton, who bought the firm we were originally contracted to last year (though the first we heard of it was an email regarding this contract from them last week). I know of other PM's who've had problems with their sharp practices. I mean, a 30 day window 90-120 days before the end of the contract is just designed to trap unsuspecting laymen isn't it! It's just so blatant.

            ROB - i though of sending a letter dated for the notice period but their 30 day window precludes me from doing so.

            Thanks once again, your help has been much needed.

            Rob

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