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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.

Termination 

General

Art. 111/3 ECA

The operator shall give its customers the possibility to terminate their contracts, by any written means, and without having to give a reason. The contract shall be terminated at the moment chosen by the customer.

The clauses related to termination aiming at making it impossible or discouraging the switch of operators are void.

By the end of the sixth month following the entry into force of the contract, the operator may not claim compensation due to the termination of a permanent contract or for the early termination of a fixed-term contract.

In the event of the termination of a contract, an additional compensation may be requested from the consumer or the customer who received, free of charge or at a discounted price, a product the acquisition of which was associated with a subscription or the preservation of a subscription. However, this compensation shall not exceed the residual value of the product at the time of the termination of the contract, as mentioned in the amortisation schedule attached to the contract.

In case of amendment to the contract

Art. 108, §2, 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.

In the event of a plan to amend the contract, the operator must give its customers the opportunity to terminate the contract, without any penalty, on the last day of the month following the coming into force of the amendments at the latest. Accordingly, the above-mentioned notification must also mention that the subscribers have to right to terminate the contract, without any penalty.

If the amendment consists in a tariff increase, the subscriber has the right to terminate the contract, without any penalty, on the last day of the month following the receipt of the first invoice after the coming into force of the amendments at the latest, unless the contract provides for an increase associated with the consumer price index and with the exception of amendments to clauses arising from new legislation or new decisions which leave no choice to operators regarding the implementation.

Migration

Change of tariff plan with the same operator

Art. 111/4 ECA

The operator shall give its customers the opportunity to switch to another tariff plan at least once a year, in principle, free of charge. The operator can only request compensation if the customer received, free of charge or at a discounted price, a terminal equipment the acquisition of which was associated with the subscription or the preservation of a subscription (see Art. 111/3 ECA).

If the customer uses that right concerning a contract regarding one distinct electronic communications service or a bundle of electronic communications services, and if the customer does not modify the number of electronic communications services he or she receives, the duration of the contract running at that time will still apply, notwithstanding any contractual clause to the contrary.

Change of fixed operator – Easy switch

Art. 111/2 ECA - Royal Decree of 6 September 2016 on the migration of fixed line services and bundles in the electronic communications sector

The Royal Decree of 6 September 2016 on the migration of fixed line services and bundles in the electronic communications sector lays down the procedure fixed operators providing at least a fixed internet or television service must follow in the event of customer migration (this concerns consumers as well as professional users, provided that they have subscribed to a residential tariff plan).

In a nutshell, the Easy Switch procedure provides that the new operator is responsible for the termination of the services (including at least a fixed Internet or television service) with the previous operator, under a mandate given by its new customer, unless the customer mentions in the mandate that he/she will terminate the service.

This mandate must be proposed to the new customer when the order is placed or when the contract is signed. The mandate must contain the information set out in Article 13 of the Royal Decree of 6 September 2016.

To make the termination of the previous contract possible in practice, after the signature of a mandate, operators must follow the Inter-Operator Communication Protocol. BIPT can provide access to the documentation related to that protocol.

The Royal Decree of 6 September 2016 also lays down the obligations regarding the visit of a technician and the provision of sufficient, clear and objective information concerning the migration (see Articles 14 to 20).

Documents

  • Consultation regarding the evaluation of Easy Switch in 2019
  • Decision of 22 January 2019 imposing a 300,000 euro fine on Telenet for not indicating the Easy Switch ID on certain business customers’ invoices
  • Summary report of the work done in the "Easy Switch" project

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