*iStock photo
*iStock photo

We recently had a mini survey on our website about cellular service contracts. 77 per cent of the respondents said that they had not fully read their cellular service contract. Not good news, especially for those people that find out what is actually in the contract when they are trying to get out of it or make changes to their plans.

Telecommunications service providers now provide a wide range of products, services and solutions to fit any consumer requirement — mobile voice, mobile data, prepaid, postpaid, internet, fixed line, etc. 

There are numerous special offers now in the market with a wide variety of promotions available to prospective buyers.

If you are planning to sign up for one of these special offers or upgrade or bundle, explore all of the deals that are out there, determine what you actually need and make sure that before you sign any contract you fully understand what you are signing up for.

Read any contract for service very carefully and thoroughly, including the fine print. Be very sure about what the offer includes and does not include.

Find out exactly what the cancellation penalties and costs are and if there is any way to get out of your contract.

When you sign a telecoms agreement — you are signing a contract. You must:

• Ask what is the initial term.

• Ask how much notice do you have to give, before you can move to another carrier.

• Ask what is the cancellation cost.

Not all contracts are written in plain English so take the time to have any clauses that you do not understand explained to you fully until you completely understand what it says.

A good contract should be fair for all parties so look out for clauses that seem unfair and do not sign if you do not agree with the terms and conditions.

Remember, as a consumer you do have rights and there is protection against unfair business practices but more importantly you have responsibilities. Do your research, buy only what you need and understand your contract completely.

At Consumer Affairs, we offer advice to consumers, businesses and other organizations. 

If we receive a complaint and believe that a violation of the law has occurred, we present the complaint to the business and request its assistance in resolving the problem. Most businesses are happy to work with us. 

Before contacting us we recommend that you first visit our web-site, www.ca.gov.bm and read the relevant advice. If you are unable to find the information you require on our web-site please e-mail us at consumers@gov.bm

Honey Adams Bell is the education officer for Consumer Affairs.