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France votes to reduce cost of cancelling phone contracts early

This could make it easier to terminate an internet or mobile contract before its end date, but some MPs warn it could cause contract prices to rise

A woman looking at a mobile phone and a piece of paper

Mobile phone and internet fees may be reduced in the event a consumer cancels a contract early Pic: stockfour / Shutterstock

Cancelling a mobile phone or internet contract early could soon cost less in France after MPs voted yesterday (July 11) to cut some of the cancellation fees, as part of plans to boost public purchasing power.

The two amendments from the Les Républicains MP Julien Dive (centre-right), supported by La France Insoumise (LFI, left-wing), were adopted before the arrival of the full purchasing power bill in the chamber on July 18.

Currently, when a consumer ends a phone or internet contract of more than 12 months before the end of the contract period, they have to pay the remaining monthly instalments for the first year and 25% of the remaining costs for the second year. 

The first of the two amendments suggests abolishing the second-year charges.

Mr Dive, MP for Aisne, said: “This amendment directly gives purchasing power back to people in France.”

Mr Tavel, LFI MP, said: “This is a common-sense measure that goes in the right direction.”

However, Renaissance (centre-right) spokesperson Sandra Marsaud warned that the decisions could cause “several legal difficulties,” and risk “opportunistic behaviour that could destabilise the market”.

She warned: “This could throw any kind of contract, all types of engagement, into question. It’s a real revolution.” 

The second of the two amendments would get rid of all of the costs of cancelling a telephone or internet contract for consumers who are going through insolvency proceedings, and who can provide "concrete proof" of this. 

LFI MP Sophia Chikirou said that the measures constituted “social progress”. Ms Marsaud said that this second amendment was a measure that “appeared useful”, and said that “only admin fees would still be charged” in the case of bankruptcy.

However, Renaissance MP Frédéric Descrozaille warned that the two amendments risked causing an “increase in the price” of phone contracts, if operators look to compensate themselves for potential cancellations.

The two amendments will now be passed to the Social Affairs Committee, with a view to integrating them directly into the bill. This is set to be debated from next Monday (July 18). 

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Telecom firms tighten rules on UK mobiles and EU roaming

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