Contract providers understand that sometimes people can struggle to pay their bills. If you are struggling to pay for your phone, TV or internet bills, then you should take immediate action. In most cases, your service provider will be able to work with you to produce a payment plan to make it easier for you to pay off what you owe. If you do not contact your provider to let them know that you are struggling, you may incur additional charges, such as late payment fees.
When you set out your payment plan with your service provider, they should clearly set out what you currently owe, and what you will owe at the end of your contract. If you are to continue using their services, they can talk to you about ways of reducing your costs. They should not try to force you to maintain payments which are not feasible.
If you do not think that you will be able to keep up with the payment plan that they have suggested, then you should talk to the provider immediately, so that it does not cause you to get further into debt.
Depending on your circumstances, your provider may let you break your contract so that you are not tied in to continual payments that you cannot make. They are not obliged to do this.
Companies may also have the option of continuing to charge you on a monthly basis for services which have already been used, without having to continue to provide you with an ongoing service.
Struggling with Debt
Many larger service providers have links with debt charities that can help you to manage your debt. If you are really struggling, ask your provider if they have any links. Alternatively, speak to Citizen’s Advice to see if they can provide you with any help or support. There are some companies in the United Kingdom which state that they offer debt support and advice, but then charge for their services. They may “buy” your debt from you and then charge interest on this debt. If you are struggling with money, you are advised to avoid using any service which will charge you for debt advice, as this is likely to exacerbate the problem.
Finding a Better Deal
If you are able to leave your contract, you may need to take up an alternative contract with another provider. Consider which services you want and need. Remember that wants and needs are not the same thing, and that you might have to choose only the services that are essential.
If you struggle with money, a pay-as-you-go SIM card may be better for you than a full phone contract. Contracts which claim to offer a free gift may be more expensive in the long run. If you want advice on contract costs there are plenty of companies which offer price comparisons of the major brands. Some comparison sites are affiliated with major brands, but you can find a list of impartial comparison sites by visiting the Ofcom website.