Mobile phone providers hate letting customers out of their grasp, so calling up to tell them that you want to cancel your contract and get your PAC code is usually a hassle… who has time to sit through those last-minute sales pleas?
While changing your gas and electricity providers has become simpler in recent years, we’ve been waiting for other services to catch up. Now it seems like phone contracts have finally caught up, thanks to new rules that make switching simpler. From today, providers have to let you request your PAC code by text, meaning that you can now cancel your contract without ever speaking to a human being. We tried it out to see if things can really be that simple.
The first step is to text PAC to 65075 – easy. We did this and got a response within seconds saying that they also needed our date of birth. Simple enough.
Unfortunately, this is where things started to go wrong: after a few minutes we got another text saying that the request couldn’t be processed due to a system error. As this is a new service, we decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and try again – but it’s worth being aware that there are a few teething issues.
Happily, after ten minutes or so we tried step one again and this time got a response with our PAC code, information about how long it would be valid for (30 days) and a figure for what our final bill would be if we decided to use the PAC code today. There was also a link directing us to our provider’s website in case we wanted to look at upgrade options instead – fair enough, since it’s easy to ignore this if you’re not interested and some people will actually be able to get a better deal by upgrading rather than switching.
Once you have your PAC code and you’ve decided to go ahead with the switch, the second step is to give the code to your new provider. In most cases, you’ll be able to do this by going through an online form. We chose a popular UK provider and signing up took around five minutes: choose a SIM or phone from the website, enter a few details including the PAC code, set up a direct debit. That was it: phone contract switched in under 10 minutes, and not a single phone call made.
Why should I bother?
Switching your phone contract is just as important as switching other bills if you want to make savings – and remember that even a few quid each month adds up over the course of a year or two. Phone providers are very competitive, which means that there are often new deals offering more data, texts and minutes at a lower cost.
Is there anything to look out for?
Early exit fees. If you’re still in your initial contract period, you may face charges for exiting the contract early. Luckily, this service makes it easy to check that too: when you get your PAC code, you’ll also be given an amount for your final bill and told about any early exit fees. That’s why this needs to be the first step in the switching process: if the cost of switching outweighs the pros then you can simply wait until your contract ends and then request a new code.
You should also be aware that signing up for a mobile phone contract usually involves a credit check. If you’re worried about a low credit score then failing a credit check could actually damage your rating further. This is why we always suggest that people check their own credit rating through a service like credit club before applying for any product that requires a credit check.