Utility Warehouse Cooling off Period

At the end of July we signed up to a bundle of services with UW (energy, broadband and mobile).
While the energy and mobile went fine and switched quickly, the broadband did not.
Late August we finally got an email stating the following:
Your landline and Ultra broadband will go live on 05-09-2022.
It also stated:
About your contract
Your contract lasts for 18 months and starts on the date above. If you cancel within 18 months, an Early Termination Fee will apply. This is equal to the amount payable for the remaining months, to a maximum of £150. An additional £10 disconnection fee will apply.

On the 5th we got told our broadband was finally active but it was not working. We therefore called UW who ran through some diagnostics and found a fault on the line (it was not connected) and passed to OpenReach. Today (8th) I chased as had heard nothing and found out due to several errors with the way UW had logged the fault and with Openreach themselves, no one was working on it so they raised it all again.

As we work from home my broadband reliability is very important and this made me nervous about  how reliable it would so I decided to exercise my cooling off rights to cancel the broadband within 14 days. I checked the T&Cs here:
The relevant section suggested to me this would be fine:
4.12.1. You have the right to cancel this Agreement in relation to any (or all) of the
Services within 14 days without giving any reason. The cancellation period will
expire 14 days from the date the Agreement is entered into in respect of each
Service you have requested. Some Services have a longer cooling off period, see
the terms for those services and our Bundle Benefit terms for details.

However, after waiting an hour and a half on hold to UW to cancel, they tell me I'm not in my cooling off period as it started the day we signed up to UW, not the day each service's contract started. So they said there's nothing they can do and I can't cancel.

This doesn't seem right to me, as how can a cooling off period have expired before a service contract has even begun?
Can anyone advise if UW are correct in this and is this legal and am I really tied into a service for 18 months that has not even started working yet?



  • QrizB
    QrizB Posts: 13,822 Forumite
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    The cooling off period is to let you reflect on the contract and runs from when you signed it. It isn't a try-before-you-buy deal.
    As we work from home my broadband reliability is very important ...
    If reliability is very important, you should ask yourself why you chose a consumer contract with Utility Warehouse rather than a business one with eg. A&A.
    N. Hampshire, he/him. Octopus Go elec & Tracker gas / Shell BB / Lyca mobi. Ripple Kirk Hill member.
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  • plh56
    plh56 Posts: 56 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    Hi QrizB,
    Thanks for your input. I raised a formal complaint with UW and they have now contacted me and conceded that I was correct and have honoured the cancellation during my cooling off period.
    As for why I have not got a business contract for working from home, I had one in the past dedicated to my home office years ago at a different address. It was far more expensive but turned out to be a lot less reliable than the cheap consumer broadband at the same address. Of course it did have compensation for when it went down, but that did not help me with being able to work so it was not worth the extra cost in my view. My current work situation is less critical as I can go to my office to work if I have an outage but it would just be very inconvenient so a consumer contract will suffice provided as long as it is fairly reliable
  • macman
    macman Posts: 53,098 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    edited 12 September 2022 at 9:58PM
    You do realise that cancelling with UW and going to another provider will not alter the line you are on: and OR will still be responsible for maintaining it, regardless of your provider?
    If you cancel the broadband service, you will also lose the UW fixed energy tariff that was presumably your reason for signing up to a bundle of services?
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
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