Switching Providers

This page contains:

Switching between Providers

To transfer services from one company to another, you have to do one of the following:

  • sign a customer authorisation form (known as CAF), or
  • complete an online authorisation form (eCAF), or
  • confirm your consent over the telephone. This can happen in one of two ways:
    • Third Party Verification (TPV) which is a process where an independent party is asked to confirm whether the your information is accurate or to validate your intent, or
    • VCaf which is very similar to TPV except that the call is not passed to an independent party. Authorisation is given to an employee of the service provider.

For eCAF and TPV/VCaf cases a signature is not required to authorise the switch. They are legally binding contracts, just the same as a signed contract.
In the event of a dispute about the legitimacy of the contract, the customer is entitled to request a copy of the authorisation, a signed authorisation form (CAF), or of the recording of the TPV/VCaf, whichever is applicable.

Changing to a new Service Provider

Before changing your service provider, you should check to see if you are still in contract with your existing provider. Most home phone contracts are for a minimum 12 month period, however service providers also offer 18 month and 24 month contracts. If you change providers before the minimum period is over, you will normally be charged for the period of time remaining on your contract. This is known as an early termination fee.

Switching on receipt of a contract change notification

If you have received a contract change notification from your current provider and if you do not accept the proposed modification to your contract you can cancel your contract immediately without penalty.

Save activity

When you are cancelling services with your existing provider and you are required to notify your existing provider, you do not have to engage in the so called “save” activity (a “save” activity is effectively your provider offering you up to date information on their prices and product offerings) unless you explicitly give your consent to do so.

Universal Account Number (UAN)

In 2010, ComReg amended the conditions of the General Authorisation. It is now mandatory for all service providers to include a Universal Account Number (UAN) on each bill. If the service provider in question does not use UANs, they must include any account reference number that the customer can use if they wish to switch providers.

In some circumstances a consumer will need a a Universal Account Number UAN to switch their service from one provider to another. If this applies to you the UAN should be displayed on your bill. If you encounter an issue where the UAN is not on your bill please request this from your service provider. If you do not receive this please contact ComReg’s consumer care team.

When a UAN is not necessary

When a customer first sets up a service with eir, they will receive an Eir Account Number (EAN). When they go on to switch providers it becomes known as the Universal Account Number (UAN).

Customers of Magnet, Smart Telecom and Virgin Media may not have a UAN allocated to them as they provide their own infrastructure and are not part of the eir wholesale network.  Instead, the consumer should simply need to provide their landline telephone number and account number.  This should be sufficient information to organise switching to another operator.

What does it cost?

There is no direct charge to consumers to move their number to another service provider. However, you should be aware that you are still liable for any outstanding bills with existing service provider. If your existing contract specifies a minimum contract period, and you leave before that period has expired, you will usually be charged an early termination fee for the remainder of the contract period.

Number Portability

Porting or switching can mean transferring your mobile number between providers or moving your landline number from one location to another, this could include a broadband service also.

The Regulations provide that consumers who have concluded an agreement to port a number to a new provider must have that number activated within a reasonable timeframe, this does not include your broadband service so always check as to how long it will take to switch your broadband service.

If a consumer experiences any delays during this process they may lodge a complaint as normal with their service provider.

As always please contact your service provider if the forecasted date of the switch does not happen. If the complaint is not responded in a timely manner, you can contact ComReg and we can raise as appropriate.

It is possible to keep your landline number when moving to a new address, as long as the new location is serviced by the same telephone exchange.