The Act of 13 June 2005 on electronic communications (hereafter “ECA”) regulates the termination of contracts between operators and their customers, and the migration of customers between operators. You will find below an overview of the relevant provisions.
For more information, we recommend reading the provisions and other texts mentioned above.
Art. 111/3 ECA
The operator has an obligation to offer his customers the possibility to cancel their contracts, by any written means, and without having to mention any reasons. Following the automatic prolongation the fixed-term contract of a consumer or a company having a maximum of 9 employees, can be terminated at the time chosen by the customer, even immediately. In contracts with other subscribers, following the automatic prolongation, it can be required to observe a maximum one-month notice period.
Any clauses regarding giving notice that aim to prevent or discourage switching to another operator are null and void by law.
As from the end of the sixth month following the commencement of the fixed-term contract with a consumer or a subscriber having a maximum of 9 employees, the operator must not ask an early termination fee any more.
In case of a breach of contract an extra fee can be required from a customer who has received a product free of charge or at a bargain price in combination with signing up for or maintaining a subscription. However, that fee must not exceed the residual value of the product at the time of the breach of contract, as it is stated in a repayment table annexed to the contract nor the subscription fees remaining until the end of the fixed-term contract, if that balance is lower than the residual value in the repayment table.
In case of a permanent contract a termination fee can never be requested; however, compensation of the residual value stated in the repayment table at the time of the termination can be payable.
To calculate the monthly depreciation of the terminal equipment a linear depreciation method has to be used. The depreciation period must not exceed 24 months, not even in case of a permanent contract.
In case of amendment to the contract
Art. 108, §4, ECA
The operator shall imperatively notify its customers of any plan to amend the contract between them.This notification must happen:
- On an individual basis;
- No later than one month before the amendment comes into force.
The right to terminate the contract without incurring any fine does not have to be granted and therefore notification of that right is not required
- if the proposed changes are demonstrably exclusively to the benefit of the end-user,
- are of a purely administrative nature and have no negative effect on the end-user, or
- are directly imposed by or under legislation that does not leave the operators any choice regarding the implementation, or
- if a consumer price index linked price increase is involved provided for in the contract.
Change of tariff plan with the same operator
Art. 111/4 ECA
The operator has to offer consumers the opportunity to change tariff formulas at least once a year and in principle free of charge. The operator is only allowed to ask compensation if a consumer has received terminal equipment free of charge or at a bargain price in combination with signing up for or maintaining a subscription (see Art. 111/3 ECA).
If the consumer uses that right regarding a contract for a single separate electronic communications service or for electronic communications services provided to him as a bundle, without changing the number of those electronic communications services purchased, the duration of the contract existing at that time remains the same, despite any clause stating otherwise.