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Why the long contract?

Many of us are getting tired with taking out what seems like a good offer, but turns out to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. But when you realise, you’ve already been tied in for what seems like a lifetime. Here’s our take on contract terms.

Why the long contract? image

Hi everyone! Zarte here! ...what, no barb? Death threat? You’ve finally given up?

How come? What happened? You’re not contractually obliged to listen to me.

That reminds me of a joke actually – BT walks into a bar owned by a customer, and the customer says “Why the long contract?”

...OK, that one might need some work, but it is a factually accurate sentiment. BT, and other “big” suppliers do seem to have fallen into this nasty habit of tying their customers in to lengthy, multi-year customers. Question is, is it ever really necessary to have a contract of longer than a few months?

Well, in short the answer is “Sometimes, but probably not” – I’ll go with the occasions where it’s understandable first.

It is perfectly understandable for a company to expect you to commit to a longer contract, if their initial costs are such that if they’re going to cover them, they want to recoup what they put into it. This is just standard business practice, and I don’t think anyone’s going to dispute that. In telecoms terms, this usually relates to where there’s an installation involved.

If a provider is going to pay for you to have a new line installed, then it makes sense for them to want to wait until you’ve paid enough in calls and line rental before they let you go and get those services from elsewhere. Even we, who pride ourselves on keeping our contracts as short as possible, will ask for a 12 month contract in this situation. Alternatively of course, you can cover the installation yourself, and then you’ll find that a shorter contract length becomes available again (it certainly does with us).

In particularly rare cases where someone is looking for a leased line – a superfast line that’s just for themselves and costs a lot to install (but can be worth it for the reliability and security provided), it’s not even unreasonable to ask for a 5-year contract. It’s just a simple case of balancing the books.

But aside from that, is it ever justified? Well in our opinion, no, not really.

See, it’s a key part of our business ethos that happy customers stay put. Happy customers are also likely to bring in more happy customers. So why insist on anything lengthy? Unless that is, you’re assuming that your customers won’t be happy?

See, in our experience, it’s always the companies with the worst customer service records that tie you into the longest contracts, and it’s exactly for that reason. If they know you’re not going to be satisfied with the service you receive, then it makes sense to keep you with them for as long as possible, because if you’ve got any common sense, you won’t be staying with them after.

If you come to make a decision about who you give your telecoms business to at any point soon, I would seriously advise that you consider the length of the term you’re being asked to agree to when you’re making a decision, because the shorter the term, the more likely it is that a company are confident that they’re going to give you a service you’re satisfied with.

Additionally, if you can get out after only a few months, why wouldn’t you give another service a try to see how it stacks up. It’s not like there’s much to lose.

So have a ponder, and if you have any other questions about contracts, or even telecoms generally. Or if you’ve just regained the will to tell me how annoying these blog articles are, then please feel free to get in touch with us through the contact box on our contact page, or by phone on 023 9298 8855

Until next time,

Zarte!