Sky television subscribers face the biggest financial penalties when trying to leave their contracts early.
New Sky subscribers are also typically locked into 18-month contracts, compared to 12-month deals with rival Virgin Media. BT’s Essential TV package also ties customers into an 18 month deal.
Customers wishing to leave a Sky TV package before the end of their contract will usually be charged a penalty of £13.40 for each month left on their contract. A customer leaving six months into an 18-month contract would need to pay more than £160 to cancel.
By comparison, Virgin Media charges a penalty of £10 for each month remaining on its basic TV-only contract, while BT has a £5.50 charge per month for its Essential package – although the number of channels included in each package varies between providers.
A survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of free satellite TV provider Freesat also found that many people have experienced difficulties when trying to cancel their contracts with major brands.
It found 41pc of people who had cancelled a contract with BT, Sky, TalkTalk or Virgin Media said they had encountered problems during the process.
Sky was ranked lowest among consumers for value for money, with 65pc of customers believing their service is overpriced.