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When you sign up to receive internet service in your home, you may be required to enter into a contract. And with contracts typically come certain obligations, one of which includes remaining a part of the contract until a specified date. 

But what if you want to back out of your contract? Maybe you’ve decided to switch to a different service provider or you’re moving and not yet ready to set up a new contract for your new home. Whatever your case may be, will you be subject to paying a penalty for breaking your internet contract before it officially expires?

We’ll get into more detail about this subject and offer some possible options to help you get out of your contract plan early.

Why Would Someone Need To Cancel Their Internet Contract?

There are a number of reasons why you might be looking to cancel your internet contract. Some of the more common reasons that might induce a cancellation are when your current provider increases their rates or if you find a better deal with another provider. Internet providers often offer bundles or promotions for new accounts and switching providers may allow you to save quite a bit. Cutting down on costs or relocating to an area the current provider does not service are other common reasons someone may want to consider early termination of their internet contract.

Things You Should Do Before Cancelling Your Contract 

Prior to making a phone call to your internet service provider and cancelling your contract, there are a few things you should do first. 

Understand The Terms Of Your Contract.

There are plenty of details that are listed in your contract with your internet service provider. The fine print of the contract is what you’ll be up against and will tell you whether or not penalty fees apply. The fine print will also tell you if you’ll be stuck paying the rest of the contract.

Whatever is detailed in the contract is what you will have to deal with. Even if it makes things a bit more difficult for you to back out of your contract, it’s information you should get familiar with. 

Verify If You Received The Services Promised

Go through the contract to make sure that you were provided with the services the internet service provider promised you as per the contract. For example, were you ever subject to blocked channels that you legitimately paid for? Were there any fee increases that were not explained to you first? Was your internet out for long periods of time? 

If you can show the customer representative that their end of the bargain was not met, you may have an easier time backing out of your contract. Or, you may at least be able to reduce your penalty fees, if any apply.

Find Out What The Cancellation Fees Are

Check to see what the fees are for cancelling your contract early so you at least know what to expect on your final bill if you are unable to negotiate with a customer service representative. 

Check To See If Cancellation Fees Are Prorated

If cancellation fees are prorated based on how long your contract is in effect, your fee could increase for every month that remains on your contract. 

Crunch The Numbers

Do the math to see if the early termination fee is more than what you would pay if you just played out the remainder of the contract. It wouldn’t make sense to pay more to back out early than to just let the contract expire on its own. 

How To Cancel Your Internet Contract

Depending on who your internet provider is, you may be able to cancel your service agreement online, by email, or by phone.

  • Online – Simply log in to your account and check if there is a way to cancel your service online.
  • Email – Email customer service and notify them that you are looking to terminate your internet contract. They should be able to provide you with the next steps on what to do.
  • Phone – The majority of internet providers will require you to call their customer service department in order to cancel. This involves speaking to a customer service representative who will usually try their best to keep you as a customer by offering rebates or discounts.

Once you receive confirmation that the service is terminated, make sure that you make arrangements to return any equipment you have that belongs to the service provider.

Check out how to cancel your phone contract

Returning Equipment

When returning equipment to your service provider, you can typically either bring it to a physical location or return it by mail. If you are looking to return the equipment by mail, make sure you track the delivery and document the packaging so that you are not hit with any fees if the parcel goes missing or if it is damaged in transit. It is also important to be aware of any fees or penalties for late returns.

Can You Cancel Your Service For a Future Date?

According to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), customers may cancel their contract at any time by notifying their service provider. Service providers must cancel the service on the same day that the customer (or a party acting on behalf of the customer) requests a cancellation.

Early Termination Fees

If you have a contract with your internet service provider, you may have to pay cancellation fees to terminate the contract before the end of the term. Check your contract for details on the penalty for early termination – it should state the total early cancellation fee, the schedule for which the cancellation fee decreases each month, and the date on which the customer will no longer be subject to the early cancellation penalty.

How Much Are Early Termination Fees?

The amount you may have to pay as a penalty to cancel your contract early will vary depending on the following factors:

  • The number of months left in the contract. If you are closer to the end of the contract, you may pay a smaller penalty fee than if you were only a few months in.
  • The exact product or service you are cancelling. Whether you are cancelling internet, cable, satellite, or even telephone services will determine your penalty fee for early termination, as each service may come with its own cancellation fee.
  • Your provider. Different internet service companies will have their own unique charges when it comes to cancelling a contract early. For example, if you are with Rogers Wireless and cancel your internet service prior to the end of the term, the Early Cancellation Fee charged is $10 for every month left in the term up to a $200 maximum in the first year and $100 in the second year. Bell Canada, on the other hand, charges an early termination fee of $150 for subscribers on a contract. 

The Satisfaction Guarantee Rule

Whenever you enter into a contract with a service provider, there may be a “cool down” or satisfaction guarantee period where you can cancel the agreement with minimal or no penalties. The time frame for this cancellation period is usually between 15 to 30 days so be sure to take action immediately if you are having second thoughts about the service provider you just entered into an agreement with.

Click here if you want to defer your utility payments

Contract Buyout

If you have already decided on opting out of your current contract for another service provider, you can ask the new provider to transfer your existing services on your behalf. By doing so, you can avoid a lengthy call with your current provider.

Contact your new service provider via phone, email, or mail, and request a service transfer. Once your current service provider receives the cancellation notice from your new provider, services will be terminated immediately. Please note that you are not required to provide notice to cancel internet services.

Unsure how to cancel your auto insurance? Check out this article.

Try a Cancellation Service

The process to cancel a service agreement with an internet provider can involve a lot of hassle, as these companies may make the process more complicated than it needs to be due to their interest in retaining you as a customer. Cancellations are typically done over the phone, and having a retention department trying to convince you to stay may be a stressful process.

Recently, a number of companies have started to offer their services in cancelling internet or cable services on your behalf. Apart from helping with cancellations, they can also negotiate better deals for you with the service provider’s retention department. Two of the more popular services are Trim and BillFixers.

Looking for information about restarting payments after deferral? Click here.

Trim

Trim is a free-to-use virtual assistant that allows you to connect different accounts and request cancellations for any unwanted services or subscriptions. Additionally, Trim will analyze your monthly spending and potentially negotiate with your service providers to lower the fees that you pay.

The virtual assistant makes their money by taking a small cut of any savings they negotiate for you, and are also compensated by credit card issuers who advertise through their platform – they are completely free to use and require no payment from the consumer.

BillFixers

BillFixers is a similar service, except that you will have to provide them with a copy of your bill rather than connect your accounts. Their fee is 50% of the first year’s savings that they negotiate on your behalf or a $25 flat fee to cancel a service for you.

Who Do You Contact To Cancel Your Internet Contract?

Here’s a list of customer service numbers to some of the more popular internet services providers in Canada:

Service ProviderCustomer Service Number 
Bell Canada1-888-759-3474
Rogers1-888-764-3771
Videotron illico TV1-877-512-0911
AT&T DirectTV1-314-925-6925
Shaw Communications1-888-472-2222

Bottom Line

When looking to cancel an agreement with your internet service provider, make sure that you take a close look at your contract and become familiar with their policies about early termination. For those who are looking for a streamlined process to cancel their service or to negotiate a better deal, there are a number of services that can be of assistance at little to no charge.

Caitlin Wood, BA avatar on Loans Canada
Caitlin Wood, BA

Caitlin Wood is the Editor-in-Chief at Loans Canada and specializes in personal finance. She is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University and has been working in the personal finance industry for over eight years. Caitlin has covered various subjects such as debt, credit, and loans. Her work has been published on Zoocasa, GoDaddy, and deBanked. She believes that education and knowledge are the two most important factors in the creation of healthy financial habits. She also believes that openly discussing money and credit, and the responsibilities that come with them can lead to better decisions and a greater sense of financial security.

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