IC24 an ISP that is part of the Brightview group, has highlighted a very grey area in the UK broadband marketplace. Migrations should have become much simpler when the MAC scheme was launched, but with the large number of retail service providers in the UK, the variations are making it harder for end users.
IC24 is offering people who migrate to them, up to £30 back in return for evidence that the provider they are leaving charged them for their Migration Authorisation Code (MAC). IC24 have signed up to the Ofcom Code of Practice for Migrations, which outlines how service providers should behave.
It is interesting to see which providers subscribe to the Ofcom code of practice, and those that do not. Certainly a number of providers have not signed up to the scheme due to the wording that follows "The existing service provider cannot withhold an authorisation code to enforce debt collection or contractual rights. However, customers are not freed from contractual obligations they have entered in to with their existing service provider - i.e.: they will have to honour the remaining term of an existing contract or pay early cancellation fees, if applicable. An existing service provider will still be able to take reasonable action to enforce their contractual rights even after a customer has migrated to a new service provider.".
One area that appears to be exempt from the Code of Practice at present, is where a service provider has provided a free activation for a service, and then wishes to reclaim this from the end-user. Some providers only claw the fee back if you leave within 12 months, one popular example being Pipex. Deferred activation fee schemes can last for up to five years in some cases While service providers websites usually do outline these fees, far too many people see the word free in big shiny letters, and forget to read the small print. The moral here, is that if someone is offering you something for free, take a longer and closer look at the terms and conditions of the offer.
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