Settling the affairs of family and friends when they’ve passed away can be a stressful and difficult experience.
When you’re sorting accounts and bills and trying to make sense of finances, you'll want to be able to speak to the correct department and get the account closed without any extra stress.
Although not as glaringly obvious as getting the gas or electricity cut off when you're starting out sorting affairs for someone who's passed away, broadband is a common utility bill you’re likely to have to cancel.
Over the course of this page, we hope you find the useful information you need to let your family or friend’s broadband provider know of their passing.
We’ll also take a look if there are any useful numbers for other life-changing circumstances, such as terminal illness. If you’re in a vulnerable position right now, there might be ways you can put plans in place to make it things easier in the future.
Cancelling broadband for bereavement: the key points
If you're in a hurry, you can click on the internet service provider name below to quickly jump to the correct information:
How do I notify my broadband provider of a bereavement?
Many internet service providers (ISPs) have a dedicated team for bereavement. These contacts are handy as they’ll know exactly why you’ve called in advance. You won’t need to get too involved in explaining your situation.
Sadly, not all have made things so plain-sailing. If this is the case, and there’s no specific point of contact, we’ve listed the general customer service number as your first port of call.
Before getting in touch with anyone, try and find the following information:
- The account holder’s full name
- The account holder’s address
- The account holder’s telephone number
- The broadband account number
You might be asked to provide a photocopy or scan of a death certificate.
Will I have to pay anything if I cancel a broadband account due to death?
When you cancel a broadband account due to a death, you shouldn’t have to pay a penalty fee. Normally, when you cancel a broadband contract before its end date, the customer would be charged an early termination fee. This tends to be the price of a month’s bill for how many months are left on the contract.
The good news is, providers tend to try and close accounts as quickly as possible for bereavement reasons. However, there may be some actions you need to take to round things off. For example, you may be asked to return any equipment such as routers. Normally, you’ll receive a prepaid envelope to be able to do this without much fuss.
If you previously set up a broadband account on a relative’s behalf, this may be treated slightly differently. In this instance, you’ll need to speak to your provider to discuss this.
For the most part, internet service providers should follow Ofcom’s guidance on how it should deal with bereavements. If you’re having trouble with the broadband provider, it may be worth mentioning you have read Ofcom’s guide on ‘Treating vulnerable customers fairly’.
How do I notify my broadband provider if my friend or family has moved into a home or hospice?
This is less cut and dry than sorting out a bereavement. The chances are, you’ll need to have a more thorough discussion with your internet service provider and discuss your individual needs.
More commonly, you’ll have to apply for lasting power of attorney to make any changes to a customer’s account.
Take a look at our list below. Some providers have more helpful information on this than others and include this as part of their vulnerability policy.
Can I cancel my broadband if I have a terminal illness?
It’s a similar story here. Some broadband providers make it easier to have a conversation and discuss this topic than others. Check the list below to see if we’ve mentioned if your ISP has a dedicated support team you can chat with.
In these circumstances, it may be more important than ever to stay online rather than cut off your communication - especially if you have accessibility issues. However, it’s understandable if you want to downgrade your broadband plan, or need help with your billing. Your provider should be open to these discussions.
If you’re also receiving welfare benefits, you might also want to read our guide to social tariffs. Many providers offer cheaper broadband packages to those receiving benefits such as Disability Allowance, Universal Credit or Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
It can also be worth getting in touch with a charity who specialises in helping people with your particular illness. You may be able to get financial advice or assistance on how best to approach your provider.
Here are the best people to get in touch with, so you can settle your affairs quickly and easily…
BT Broadband bereavement and 'Here For You' policy
The BT Broadband Bereavement Team is a dedicated support unit who will be able to answer any queries. You can get in touch by phoning 0800 169 1663. Lines are open 8am-9pm on weekdays, 8am-8pm Saturdays and 9am-6pm on Sundays. BT doesn’t ask to see a copy of the death certificate.
BT’s ‘Here For You’ webpage is a good place to start if you need more help. You can register your additional needs if you’re affected by any of the following:
- Critical illness
- Life events like unemployment and bereavement
- Mental health conditions
- Dementia and other cognitive conditions
- Speech or language impairments
- Physical impairment
- Sight loss
- Hearing loss
- Literacy and numeracy needs
You can also notify BT of a bereavement using a web form.
Vodafone broadband bereavement number and terminal illness policy
If you’d rather not speak to anybody, Vodafone makes it easy with a dedicated bereavement form. One received, you should receive communication within 10 days.
Alternatively, you can chat to a member of the bereavement team by calling 0808 005 7450. Lines are open on weekdays between 8am-10pm, or 8am-8pm on weekends.
You’ll need to be able to provide the death certificate registration number.
Vodafone will allow you to close the account, downgrade to Pay As You Go, or transfer a broadband contract to another account, if you’re suffering from a terminal illness. You’ll have to provide proof illness on headed paper that’s been signed by a medical professional. This must be dated within the last 6-12 months.
To set this in motion, there’s a dedicated notification of terminal illness form.
Sky Broadband vulnerable customers and bereavement team
Sky has a webpage full of information on how it supports vulnerable customers. If you've set up power of attorney, there’s also information on how you can notify Sky it needs to send billing and admin to your nominee.
You can speak to a member of its bereavement team by calling 0333 2020 912.
How do I notify Virgin Media broadband of a death or critical illness?
You’ll need to download and complete a Bereavement Disconnect form. The next step is then to email it back to Virgin Media at bereavement&[email protected], or send it by post to:
Once the form has been received, the account will be updated within 7 days.
Alternatively, you can speak to a dedicated team with the phone number 0800 952 2302. Calls will be answered between 8am-8pm Monday to Friday, or 9am-5pm on Saturdays.
The same number can be used to report a critical illness. You’ll be able to call on someone else’s behalf if you’re a family member or friend, but you’ll need to have the details to hand.
TalkTalk broadband bereavement team
You can contact the TalkTalk bereavement team on 0345 172 0038 (or free from a TalkTalk phone). Phones will be answered Monday-Friday between 9am-7pm and Sunday 9am-6pm.
Plusnet broadband bereavement support
To cancel a broadband account for bereavement reasons, you can call 0800 432 0200.
If you’d like to transfer an account, the request will only be able to be made my members of the immediate family, or the nearest blood relative.
Plusnet’s customer support phone lines open between 8am-8pm every day of the week.
You can find more information on Plusnet’s support with our customer service, contracts, problems and complaints page.
Hyperoptic customer support
Hyperoptic doesn’t have specific guidelines on how to submit death notification. However, you can contact its support team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0333 332 1111. Alternatively, if you’d prefer to communicate in writing, you can email [email protected].
NOW Broadband bereavement support
To permanently close a NOW Broadband account due to a death, you'll need to call 03303 323 031.
Before you call, make sure you have the name and email address registered on the account, as well as the address and postcode.
You'll also be able to transfer the account to another name if you want the broadband service to continue.
Shell Energy broadband bereavement and vulnerable customer support
To report a bereavement, you can call 0330 094 5801 to speak to a support team. This line is open between 8am-8pm Monday to Friday, or 9am-4pm. Alternatively, you can email [email protected]. You’ll need to have the following information to hand:
- Account holder’s name
- Account number (if you can find a recent bill) or house number
- Your relationship to the deceased
- Your own contact information
Shell Energy will then be able to close this broadband account. You also have the option to switch the service to a new account in your name.
Shell Energy has clear information in its ‘Broadband and Phone Vulnerable Customer Policy’. Customers suffering from illness who need assistance managing their bills can request a ‘Delegated Authority’ on their account. This means their nominated person can:
- Receive the customer’s bill
- Be notified when a bill hasn’t been paid
- Pay the customer’s bill on their behalf
If a customer has a Power of Attorney who wants to act on their behalf, you can send a certified copy of the LPA certificate to:
Shell Energy Retail Ltd.
Shell Energy House
Westwood Business Park
italk Broadband customer care
Information is a little thin on the ground for italk's stance on bereavement and illness. However, you should be able to get this resolved by speaking to italk’s customer care team on 0333 210 4290. Or, you can put any requests in writing by emailing [email protected].
Three broadband vulnerable customer and bereavement team
Three has a hub page for bereavement and major life event support. To resolve any issues, you can call 0333 338 1001 and ask for the Bereavement Team. If you’d prefer not to speak to anyone, Live Chat or this Life Ledger form may be a better option.
Switching broadband providers for a better service
The ease at which you can sort these issues speaks a lot about a provider’s customer service. Being able to seek help for bereavement and illness should be just as important as the technical side of your broadband service. Unfortunately, some ISPs need to do more to make this process easier and clearer.
If you’re unhappy with how the broadband provider has handled your issue, your first port of call should be to ask them to confirm the contract end date. If you’re out of contract, you’re free to switch at any time.
Broadband Genie deals checker
If you still want to stay connected to the internet, you may find it useful to switch to a short-term contract for a quick solution. Rolling-monthly contracts (also known as 'no contract broadband') will give you the option to have a reliable broadband service whilst being able to cancel this without charge or fuss. Always try and opt for a package with unlimited data.
If you need a helping hand, you can see who fares best with customer service by looking at the results of this year’s Broadband Awards.
Financial and administrative help for bereavement and illness
Citizens Advice is also a practical option for legal advice about debt and consumer issues.
Many internet service providers (ISPs) have dedicated teams who can assist you with bereavement or terminal illness. Some may offer to close broadband accounts without question, others might ask for copies of death certificates or a letter from a medical professional.
If you’re trying to sort the affairs of a friend or relative, but you can’t find their internet service provider listed above, it’s always worth calling its general customer service number.
Even some of the bigger broadband providers simply ask you to start a conversation by calling a general customer service number. Broadband Genie has dedicated customer service pages for many ISPs.
Before you make the call, it can be very helpful to gather as many account details as you can, including reference numbers. If you’re calling on someone else’s behalf, have an old bill handy if you can find one. You might be asked to confirm addresses, your relationship, and the address.
If you’re suffering from a critical illness, and you’d like to sort assistance from your next of kin in advance, tell your broadband provider you’d like to make arrangements for power of attorney. You may find you can send bills to a nominated person. This will give you peace of mind you’ll be able to stay connected, even if you’re unable to deal with any admin yourself.
Why do we need your address?
We need your address to show you the broadband deals available at your home. This information is gathered in partnership with thinkbroadband.