Does cooling off period apply

  aca 19:37 31 May 2004

Signed up for Broadband 12 month contract. Changed mind and realise that in contract the ISP can debit me a £35 fee for cancellation prior to activation/start date. Would I be protected by the 7 day cool off period I have through purchasing on line?

  Forum Editor 21:10 31 May 2004

you accepted a contract term agreeing that you would be charged a £35 fee for cancellation prior to activation. Even then I think you're on strong ground - the contract mustn't contain any clauses that limits your rights in law.

Contracts can limit your rights in law for that is what contracts tend to do - though they must be "Reasonable" (Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977)

Regulation 13 of the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling)Regulattions make an exeption to the right to cancel contracts for the supply of services where -

performance of the contract has begun; and,

The supplier has given written confirmation that (unless the parties agree otherwise) the consumer will not be able to cancel the contract once performance of the services has begun. (Reg 8(3)

In the present case the necessary works required to activate the line may be construed as beginning activation and so you would not be able to cancel.

However, a quick telephone call may induce a sympathetic response.

If it was meant "limit your statutory rights" then of course no contract can do that but your statutory rights are governed as above.

  Forum Editor 00:11 01 Jun 2004

what I said earlier, the contract mustn't contain any clauses that limit your rights under the law - unless you specifically agreed otherwise.

If you agree that the service will commence before the expiration of 7 days from the date of the contract then for obvious reasons you will not be entitled to cancel the contract once the service has started, BUT the supplier of the services MUST tell you this in writing, otherwise you are entitled to cancel in the normal way, without penalty.

If your ISP didn't tell you in writing that you would not be able to cancel the agreement within seven days, you can. Otherwise you can't.

I suggest you do what Smiffy99 recommends - call them and discuss the matter, but be warned - if you intend to cancel a contract within the 7 day period you must do so in writing. A telephone call is not accepted as proper cancellation notice.

  aca 08:55 01 Jun 2004

Here are the clauses. Looks unreasonable to me. My fault for signing up and I have e-mailed cancellation and will follow up with phone call. Any feedback on specific clauses below gratefully received. Thanks ACA

16.1 This Agreement may be terminated at anytime prior to the Start Date, however, an admin charge of £35.00 will be deducted from your refund. If we have supplied you with a Modem you must either pay for the Modem or return such Modem to us (at our request) we will then refund you for any payment received from you for such Modem.

16.2 After the Start Date this Agreement may be terminated as follows and the cancellation provisions of the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 (the "Distance Selling Regulations") will not apply to the Service:

  961 17:22 01 Jun 2004

I do not think that any charge (admin or other) may be made within the 7 (working) day cooling off period unless the service has actually started if the customer decides, for any reason, to cancel

The DTI web site has a full copy of the distance selling regulations and I am sure that local trading standards will help

There will be a requirement to return or pay for a modem if that has been supplied

  Djohn 18:14 01 Jun 2004

It may be that the ISP places this charge even within the 7 days because of the fact that the £35.00 is what the ISP pays to BT to do the connection. if this fee has already been paid to BT for work done then someone needs to pay but all other money paid should be refundable if you cancel within the 7 days.

  961 19:44 01 Jun 2004

Sorry but I don't think that has anything to do with it

The guy who buys long distance now has a right to cancel within 7 days.

Read the regs.

If the service has already started then perhaps there is room for a charge, but otherwise so long as everything such as modems or other equipment goes back then it is back to square one

  Hunte® 21:00 01 Jun 2004

Distant sellling regulations have a clause to allow for good ordered specifically for you. An ADSL activation comes under this because once the preliminary checks have been made the ISP contracts BT Wholesale to activate your telephone line. BTW charge the ISP for this and it is usually done within 5-7 days. If you cancel within 48 hours then you will probably be charged nothing as BTW don't usually charge.

Between 48 hours and activation date BTW charge a proportional amount of the activation charge. An ISP is perfectly entitled (even under distant selling) to reclaim this out of pocket expense.

  aca 21:25 01 Jun 2004

Thanks. Cancellation was within hours of ordering. I have gone to Trading Standards and have sent follow up e-mail to ISP and awaiting response.

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