¿They can cut me off the Internet or the mobile phone? It is a question that we usually ask ourselves. The answer is clear: it depends. It depends on the service we are talking about (it will not be the same landline as mobile) and will depend on the reason for the outage, generally reflected in the legal conditions of your contract with that operator. There are some rules that you must follow and that may be a reason to cut off the Internet, although the most frequent is due to non-payment. Usually they will not cut off service without giving a reason and without notice in advance. In that case, you can claim the operator to find out what has happened.
Why the Internet can cut you:
- For non-payment
- Unlawful or improper use of the service
- Use of the service contrary to good faith
- By user request or because you want to unsubscribe the line
We must bear in mind that there is a differentiation in the regulations between fixed telephony or mobile telephony and the Internet. Fixed telephony is a basic benefit, a right for all citizens and to which everyone should have access regardless of their geographical location, doing everything possible so that the price is accessible to everyone thanks to the agreement that provides for the Universal Telecommunications Service. It is not the same with mobile phones or Internet access, which, for now in 2020, is not considered a right for all users. So in case of non-payment there is different conditions so that the service is interrupted.
Fixed telephony, as we say and as collected by the Universal Telecommunications Service, is a right for all citizens in Spain so they will not be able to cut your service from one day to the next and it will be a somewhat more complicated process. Or, at least, more complicated than if what you are cut off is the Internet connection or the possibility of calling from your mobile phone. According to the Office of Attention to Telecommunications Users of the Government of Spain, a series of requirements must be met.
Fixed line cutting requirements
- Payment delay must have occurred during a period of more than one month since the invoice is received. The operator will not be able to make decisions about cutting the service before the deadline.
- Before the operator suspends service, there must be produced a prior notice to the subscriber. If after the warning the non-payment persists, the operator can cut outgoing calls but cannot cut the incoming calls. Neither can you cut outgoing calls to emergency services that can be made normally by the user.
- During the suspension of service, the user must continue to pay fixed fees that are not associated with consumption, if any. In other words, the line fees or subscription fees that may have been associated with the contract must continue to be paid even if the line is suspended.
- If three months pass and the due invoice has not been paid, the contract can be terminated: the line is terminated and the service can be definitively interrupted although a prior notice is always required.
Prepaid mobile telephony
In general, as in the case of contract mobile telephony, it will depend on your operator. But the balance has an expiration in almost all the prepaid rates that you hire, although the date may vary. Most prepaid cards allow us not to top up money for a few months. After that period,
Expiration of balance on prepaid cards
In the case of Vodafone, for example, the prepaid card has a period of six months to consume the balance. Once those six months have passed and you have not recharged, a period of one month begins in which you can only make calls. A month later and if you have not recharged either, the card is permanently disabled.
Also in Orange your balance will expire after a while. IF you spend a year without recharging you can continue to receive calls for one more month but without making them. If after this month you have not made a recharge, it is permanently deactivated. Thirteen months without recharging your balance will disable the card. It will take less time to expire in Movistar: maximum six months to exhaust our balance and a period of 54 days to recharge. If not, the service will expire. In just six months, your Yoigo card will be deactivated, for example, if you do not have a balance. In Lycamobile, for example, the SIM card will stop working to make calls if you are more than sixty days without recharging and there is no way to reconnect it.
As you can see, in the case of prepaid rates, the term may vary and will depend on your balance or if the operator allows pause service temporarily or not so that the card does not expire and we have to bet on another with a new number. In any case, consult the specific conditions of the prepaid rates of your operator since these periods are highly variable not only from one company to another but over time: the legal conditions are updated, changed, etc.
Mobile telephony and Internet with contract
In the case of mobile telephony with a contract or the Internet, it will not depend exclusively on complying with the rules of the Government of Spain, but here the guidelines are set by the operator that you have hired and the legal conditions of each one of them. Unlike prepaid, a balance does not expire because you stop paying but you have the obligation to pay a monthly contract in order to have service.
You will have to look at your contract, in questions and rules, in the cases indicated by your contract. Or you can check the legal conditions of the operator from its website, they are usually visible and you can download them in PDF not only the general ones but the specific ones of your rate.
Since mobile and internet operators do not have to comply with the above rules, they may cut your day in three, four or seven days if you have not paid the bill you owe. Normally dwill depend on each one of them and not only of the contracted operator but of the rate you have, the package or the specific conditions that you put in your contract so it is advisable to review everything before you stop paying and risk a temporary or permanent suspension. In the next paragraphs we collect some of the operators to give you an idea of deadlines and procedures, but you should review the fine print of your contract to know exactly what are the rules or conditions that you must meet and if they can cut the Internet.
In general, a temporary suspension will be carried out first, allowing you to reactivate the service if you pay the invoice or pending invoices. Once you pay it, most operators promise to reactivate the line in exchange for a extra payment for this reactivation. If you don’t pay and after a while, the suspension is final. The different operators may also cut you off the Internet if the temporary suspensions are repeated and it takes longer than it should to pay your debts.
Beyond the conditions that we will see below and that are collected by the operators, there are special moments or circumstances in which the Internet service can not be cut under any circumstances. For example, in March 2020 the Official State Gazette included some of the special measures for the coronavirus pandemic that “prohibited” operators leave customers without service.
Article 18 of the BOE published on that date indicated that while the state of alarm is in force in Spain, the provision of services should be maintained: they cannot be suspended for reasons other than integrity or security network so that users or customers who have not been able to pay the monthly fee (either due to unemployment or any other situation) would continue to have access to the Internet or mobile phones until the end of the state of alarm.
In the case of Movistar’s general mobile service conditions, it indicates that the definitive interruption of the service may be suspended for the following reasons:
- Suspension or definitive interruption for a serious breach of the obligations derived from this contract, as well as for a use of the service contrary to good faith or to commonly accepted practices such as the correct use of mobile services.
- Delay in the payment of the service for a period greater than three months or the temporary suspension on two occasions of the contract due to delay in payment.
- For illicit or improper use of the service that involves the use of the condition of client to carry out a business, professional or economic activity whose object is the assignment or resale of the Movistar service and / or re-routing of calls or traffic to third parties.
These three causes would be the cause of cut the mobile line in Movistar definitely but they can also cut it temporarily. The temporary suspension of Movistar service may occur due to non-payment: Movistar may suspend the unpaid service from the date it becomes aware of such circumstance and the client may receive calls or make emergency calls, but nothing more. Once the payment is made, the service will be reestablished by charging an extra charge of 30.25 euros with VAT included on the next invoice.
In the case of Movistar Fusión rates, the legal conditions state that there will be suspension for non-payment if there is a delay in the payment, total or partial, of the amounts due for a period of more than one month from the presentation to the collection of the document. This will give Movistar the right, upon notice to the customer, to suspend the fixed service, bandwidth (ADSL or fiber), the television service and the mobile communications service. Movistar will notify the suspension of services at least fifteen days before said suspension and this communication will indicate the maximum date on which the connection will be cut if payment is not made. If you pay the debt, Movistar restores the suspended services the next business day with a charge of “rehabilitation” of 30.25 euros with VAT to have it all again as before.
In the event that non-payment reaches three months, there will be a total suspensionl and definitive of all Movistar Fusión services.
From the Vodafone website we can also find its legal conditions and, specifically, those that speak about customer default: “The portrait in the payment, total or partial, by the client of the amounts due may give rise to the restriction of outgoing calls or the suspension of the provision of services as soon as Vodafone becomes aware of such circumstance, 48h advance notice by SMS. Furthermore, as is already the case with Movistar, in the event of a default by the customer, Vodafone will pass on the costs incurred as a result of non-compliance, with a maximum of 20 euros for each unpaid invoice. When it has been paid, the service will be restored in one business day with a price of up to 30 euros for this restoration.
Beyond the temporary suspension of the previous paragraph, there may be a definitive suspension: “Vodafone may end the contract for breach on the part of the Client of his obligations like the delay in the payment of the amounts due for a suspension period of three months ”. Or by a temporary suspension on two occasions. In addition to in case of fraud or for other sufficiently accredited reasons of unlawful use of the service or contrary to good faith or commonly accepted “correct use” practices with the contracted service.
Orange’s legal conditions are also available through its website. In this section they tell you everything you should know about the suspension of the service: temporary suspension and definitive interruption for customers. In addition, they clarify: “in no case will the suspension of the telephone service affect incoming calls (except for reverse calls) or calls to emergency services that the client may in any case make free of charge. The suspension does not exempt the client from the payment of fixed fees“
Orange can suspend the entire contracted mobile service if the client does not partially or totally attend to the payment of the amounts owed. In addition, as in the previous ones, the service will be restored within the next working day once the payment has been made and the client is in charge of paying the reactivation amount. Regarding the definitive interruption, it is explained: “The delay in the payment of the fixed or mobile Service pFor a period of more than three months or the temporary suspension of the contract due to delay in payment on two occasions, Orange will be entitled, with prior notice to the Client, to the definitive interruption of the Service and the corresponding termination of the contract. The interruption will only affect the unpaid Services ”
If you have suffered a temporary or interrupted suspension with which you do not agree or that you think has been an error, you can submit a claim to the Telecommunications User Support Office of the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism. Of course, before moving on to this official claim it is essential that you speak previously with your operator. You can contact by calling (if you still have a line and you can do it) or going to a store where they can fix it for you. If the suspension persists and you think it has been completely unfair, you can file the claim from the website of the Government of Spain.
You can file claims for breakdowns and service interruptions, for non-compliance with offers, for refusal to cancel the operator or for disagreement with the invoice received, among other reasons that you can find in the questionnaire. That is, in case you are going to cut the Internet or the phone and you think that there are no reasons for it. In addition, you can request more information or make related queries. You can do it on the phone 91 181 40 45 or 901 33 66 99 where they will explain how to make the different claims.