CONTRACT > Before contracting a communications service, you should receive the complete contract from the operator, along with a contract summary

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What do I need to conclude a communications service contract in Portugal?

To conclude a communications service contract in Portugal you will need to provide:
  • Identification Document (e.g., passport);
  • Tax identification number (Portuguese NIF);
  • Proof of address (e.g. rental agreement, promissory contract, utility bill, etc.),
  • Bank details for payment (NIB or IBAN).

What information should be included in my contract?

Before concluding a contract, the operator must give you information with the complete contractual conditions in a format you can keep (e.g. email). The contract must contain information about:
  1. deadlines for activating services and for repairing faults, guaranteed levels of quality of service (except for Internet services) and compensation that will be due if the operator fails to fulfil these conditions;
  2. price of service activation and/or installation;
  3. duration of the contract, renewal and cancellation conditions, including any penalty charges for cancelling before the contract's end;
  4. conditions of any promotion (e.g. binding period);
  5. charges for switching operator and compensation due if the operator doesn't complete the switch on time;
  6. balance refunds for pre-paid services, when switching operator;
  7. measures that the operator may adopt in the event of a security incident, or if it detects threats or vulnerabilities on the network.
In addition, when you contract Internet access or telephone services, the contract must also contain the following information:
  1. for internet access services: minimum levels of quality, such as latency time, instability, and packet loss;
  2. for fixed and mobile telephone services: initial call connection time, probability of call failure and call signalling times;
  3. conditions governing the use of terminal equipment, including applicable charges;
  4. details of the subscription plan, such as communications volumes (data, minutes or Mb) included per billing period and the price of any additional units;
  5. methods available to control consumption;
  6. charges for after-sales, maintenance and customer support services;
  7. methods for obtaining up-to-date information on prices and maintenance charges;
  8. personal data to be provided by the customer before the service is initiated and during the contract;
  9. products and services for users with special needs;
  10. options to resolve any conflicts (national and cross-border);
  11. possible technical limitations in accessing emergency services or in caller location functions;
  12. the customer’s right to decide on the inclusion of their personal data in telephone directories and through the 118 directory inquiries service (telephone service with information on subscribers);
  13. for the fixed internet service, contracts must also specify:
  • speed that is normally available;
  • maximum speed;
  • advertised speed.

14. for the mobile internet service, contracts must also specify:

  • estimated maximum speed;
  • advertised speed; and
  • corrective measures that may be taken in the event of a continuous or recurring discrepancy between actual performance of internet access services and that indicated in the contract.
Contract texts are usually long and difficult to read, and not always easy to understand, but time spent reading the contract is never wasted. Read it carefully, ask the operator about anything that is not clear, and check that the answers you receive match what is written in the contract. Only sign after you have understood every detail.

What information should be included in a distance contract (concluded online or over the phone) or outside the operator's store?

In addition to the information that must be included in all types of contract (see question What information should be included in my contract?), additional information must be provided on:
  • the right to withdraw from the contract (see question Can I withdraw from a contract if I change my mind?), when and how you can exercise this right (you must be given a form for this purpose);
  • the requirement for the consumer to pay the operator an amount proportional to the service already provided, if the consumer exercises the right of free withdrawal after having expressly requested installation of the service, substitution of equipment or the application of tariff conditions;
  • the existence of any guarantees for digital goods, content or services, and associated conditions; 
  • the existence, when applicable, of after-sales assistance and services and commercial guarantees, and associated conditions; 
If you conclude the contract over the telephone, the operator must then send you this information in a format that allows you to keep a record (for example, on paper, USB stick, CD). 
Always confirm that the written information corresponds to the conditions proposed!



What is a contract summary?

The contract summary is different from the full contract conditions, as it only contains the main details of your contract and is easy to read. The summary must be given to you by the operator in a form that allows you to keep a record (e.g. an email), before the contract is concluded or amended. If, for technical reasons, the operator is unable to deliver the contract summary at the time the contract is agreed, it must do so as soon as possible afterwards. 
The contract only comes into force after you have received the contract summary and when you expressly confirm the conditions contained in that summary. If you do not confirm these conditions, the operator cannot require you to comply with any obligations under the contract, for example payment of bills or payment of penalties for not complying with any binding period. 
The contract summary must include:
  • identity and contact details of the operator (including contact details for making complaints);
  • main characteristics of each service;
  • activation prices (including installation costs and recurring/consumption-related charges); 
  • contract duration, renewal and termination conditions;
  • products and services for users with special needs;
  • for fixed internet access services, the minimum speed, normally available speed and maximum speed for downloads and uploads; 
  • for mobile internet access services, the estimated maximum speed for downloads and uploads; 
  • for internet access services (fixed and mobile), information on actions to be taken in the event of a continuous or recurring discrepancy between actual performance of the internet access service, in terms of speeds or other quality of service parameters, and that indicated in the contract.

​What should the contract say about service coverage?

The contract must state whether the service is available in the area where you intend to use it or if the operator has to carry out tests to confirm availability.

Do unlimited tariffs really have no consumption limits?

Pay attention to tariffs advertised as “unlimited”! The expressions "unlimited traffic" ("tráfego ilimitado") or "unlimited calls/SMS" ("chamadas/SMS ilimitadas") can only be used to refer to tariff plans that effectively have no limits or restrictions throughout the duration of the contract. 

If offers are described as “unlimited”, restrictive measures or restrictions on Internet traffic are only permitted in exceptional situations, for example to prevent overcapacity on the operator's network, and only for as long as this exceptional risk exists.

Can I withdraw from a contract if I change my mind?

A right of withdrawal only exists when contracts are concluded online or over the phone. In these cases, you have 14 days to cancel the contract (from the date of its conclusion), without having to give a reason. If the contract has been concluded outside the operator's store the deadline is 30 days.
  • if, before concluding the contract, the operator has not informed you about the existence of the right of withdrawal and how it can be exercised, then the time limit is extended, in both cases, to 12 months. 
  • however, if the operator informs you of the existence of the right of withdrawal during these 12 months, the period of 14 consecutive days (online or telephone contracts) or 30 consecutive days (contracts concluded outside the operator's store) applies again, counted from the day on which you received this information. 

​How can I cancel a contract that I signed remotely (online/telephone) or outside the operator's store, if I change my mind?

When you conclude the contract, the operator is obliged to provide you with a form for you to use if you decide to cancel, which it must also make available on its website. You can use the form provided by the operator or you can simply make the request to the operator, in writing, informing the operator in clear terms that you want to cancel the contract. (See question Can I withdraw from a contract if I change my mind?)

Do I have to pay to withdraw from a contract made remotely or outside the operator's store when it includes prior installation of the service?

When contracts are concluded remotely (online/telephone) or outside the store, the operator must ask you to submit an express request to install the service. This request must be made using a format that allows you to keep a record (for example, by email, on paper, etc.), recognising that if the contract is fully executed, you lose the right of withdrawal.
If you exercise your right of withdrawal after making an express request for installation, you are then obliged to pay the operator a proportional amount for services actually provided up until the moment you gave notice of withdrawal and in relation to all the services provided for in the contract. You will only not have to pay this amount if:
  • you were not informed about the conditions for exercising the right of contract withdrawal; or
  • you did not expressly request for the service to start during the withdrawal period.

What is a contract binding period?

This is the period during which the consumer commits not to cancel a contract signed with the operator or change the agreed conditions, otherwise a penalty charge may be payable.

In exchange for this commitment, the operator offers advantageous conditions, such as discounts on monthly charges, discounted equipment, free service installation or equipment rental, extra channels or free call bundles, etc. These advantages must be identified and quantified in the contract.

The user has a right to confirm, at any time, the date on which the binding period ends and the amount of the penalty that must be paid if the contract is cancelled before this period ends. This information must appear on the operator’s bills and must be provided by the operator if you ask directly.

​How long does a contract binding period last?

It depends on the conditions of your contract. By law, binding periods can be 6, 12 or 24 months (24 months maximum). Operators must publish information on the cost/benefit ratio associated with commercial offers with different binding periods. They must also provide offers without binding periods for all communications services, although these will normally have higher prices.

Can the operator extended or renew the binding period?

The binding period may be extended or renewed by the operator, provided that:
  • each of the new periods does not exceed the limit of 24 months; 
  • what is being offered in return is duly identified and quantified in the contract (e.g. provision of new equipment at subsidised prices, free installation and/or service activation or other promotional conditions); 
  • extension or renewal of the binding period has express agreement from the customer.

Can the contract be automatically renewed after the end of the binding period?

Since a commitment by the customer to stay in the contract, for a certain period, is required in exchange for certain benefits offered by the operator, the end of the binding period will mark the end of these benefits and, with the contract's automatic renewal, you may end up paying a higher amount for the same service.
Before automatically renewing the contract, the operator must inform you clearly and using a format that you can save (e.g. email, paper) about:
  • the date on which the binding period ends;
  • how you can cancel the contract;
  • the best prices applicable to the services it provides.
The operator must also, at least once a year, inform you about its best available prices.

Do contracts without binding periods or with shorter loyalty periods have higher costs?

Operators require a commitment to a binding period in exchange for offering advantageous conditions (discounts on monthly charges, discounted equipment, free service installation or equipment rental, extra channels or free call bundles, etc.). These advantages must be identified and quantified in the contract.

Therefore, tariffs without a binding period or with a shorter binding period will, from the outset, have fewer advantages or contractual benefits. It is up to the consumer to choose the offer they consider most appropriate: one with a higher cost but without a commitment to a long binding period, or one with a lower cost but with a longer binding period.

In any case, operators may not impose disproportionate contractual conditions or complicated contract termination procedures that make it difficult to switch operators.