63% OF IRISH CONSUMERS IN THE DARK ABOUT BROADBAND EARLY EXIT FEES Almost two-thirds of Irish households now have broadband, however new research shows that many are in the dark about early exit penalties on their contracts, and this could be costing them dear: 63% of consumers are in the dark about early exit penalties on their broadband contracts – 41% don’t know if they would incur a penalty, while 22% are unsure of the amount·Reality check: 7 out of 9 broadband providers charge an early exit fee – Magnet and Sky are the only providers not to chargeEarly exit penalties range from no charge to €250, yet less than one in ten (7%) know the exact amount they could be charged for leaving their broadband contract ahead of time. Despite the growing importance of broadband in Ireland, new research from uSwitch.ie, the independent price comparison and switching service, shows that over six in ten consumers (63%) are in the dark about the early exit penalties attached to their broadband contracts. Over four in ten (41%) don’t know if they would incur a penalty for leaving their current provider early, while two in ten (22%) know that there is a penalty, but are unsure of the amount. According to uSwitch, this lack of clarity could be costing consumers dear. Seven out of nine broadband providers currently charge early exit fees, with penalties ranging from no charge to €250. Only Magnet and Sky currently don’t charge a penalty, with Magnet providing the only no contract home broadband bundles. Despite this, less than one in ten consumers (7%) know the exact penalty they could be charged for leaving their broadband contract early, while 30% are convinced they wouldn’t incur a charge. Eoin Clarke, Head of uSwitch.ie, says: “Broadband is fast becoming a household essential, which is why it’s now so important that people get to grips not just with the cost, but with their contracts too. There are some great packages and deals available, but failure to understand things such as early exit penalties could end up costing you dearly. “The key thing is to arm yourselves with all the facts before you sign on the dotted line. However, we would urge broadband providers to play their part too, and to ensure that they make these charges as clear and transparent as possible so that consumers don’t get caught unaware. “It’s also important that these fees are cost-reflective – genuinely reflecting the cost to a supplier of a customer ending their contract early. Suppliers should also communicate clearly to customers when their contract is coming to an end and when any exit penalty expires so they will be free to shop around. The key thing is that penalties are not allowed to become a barrier to switching. It’s vital that consumers are freely able to use the vibrant and competitive broadband market as this will help them to keep the cost of this household essential down.” Table showing early termination fees per broadband supplier: Broadband ProviderPlan NameMonthly CostEarly Termination ChargeDigiweb8Mb NGB Lite & Talk Off-Peak€40.61€243.66eircomeFibre Advanced€45.00€250.00Imagine3Mb WiMax Anytime€25.00€101.65MagnetFatpipe 24 & Simply Phone€44.99No chargeSkyBroadband Lite + Talk Freetime€30.00No chargeSmart TelecomHome Broadband & Phone€29.95€179.70UPCFibre Power 50 – Limited€35.00€150.00UTV Connect8Mb Broadband & Talk (weekend & evening)€36.00€216.00VodafoneVodafone Home€40.00€240.00Source: uSwitch.ie - Data correct as at 24th July, 2013 uSwitch.ie launched into the Irish market in January 2013, with the aim of offering consumers free, independent and impartial price comparison and switching services. uSwitch aims to make it easier for Irish households to compare prices, save money on their regular bills, get the best deals on offer and make their hard-earned money go that bit further. Price guides on all payment plans for gas, electricity, home broadband and digital television is available for each supplier on the website. For more information, visit www.uSwitch.ie-Ends-For further information or to request interviews, please contact:Frans Van Cauwelaert on 01 6690030/087 9476743 or email@example.comMartyn Rosney on 01 6690030/085 7282151 or firstname.lastname@example.org Notes to editors:Research referred to in note 2 below was conducted by Coyne Research on behalf of uSwitch.ie via an online omnibus survey of 1,000 people aged 16+ years. The sample was quota controlled and weighted to be representative of the Irish population.1. Source: http://www.comreg.ie/publications/quarterly_report_q4_2012.583.104319.p.html2. In response to: ‘To what extent are you aware or not aware of any penalties you would incur for breaking your contract? Know that I would incur a penalty but unsure of the amount; Do not know I would incur a penalty; Know the exact amount I would incur; Know that I would not incur a penalty.3. See table in release above – all data prepared by uSwitch.ie. Early termination charge table based on broadband providers non-discounted basic entry level home broadband and home phone bundle. Comparison is based on a customer leaving the broadband provider with six months left on their contract. Magnet broadband bundle listed is a “no contract” package. About usuSwitch.ie is a free, impartial, online and telephone-based comparison and switching service, helping consumers compare prices on gas, electricity, home broadband and digital television. uSwitch.ie has now been fully accredited by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) in Ireland, ensuring the site meets a clear set of standards for accuracy, transparency and reliability. uSwitch.ie is the sister company of uSwitch.com, the recognised market leader in the UK price comparison and energy switching market. uSwitch.com has helped over two million satisfied customers save money on their household bills since it was founded in 2000.uSwitch.com and uSwitch.ie are owned by Forward Internet Group Limited, a privately funded collection of internet-based businesses focused on consumer engagement and innovation.