Are you paying hundreds of pounds a year more than you need to for broadband, phone and TV packages? If you haven't switched for over 12 months you're probably paying too much. On average, consumers will stay with a broadband, phone or TV supplier for 4 years which means they are paying hundreds of pounds per year more than they need to.
When you sign up for a broadband, home phone and TV package you are likely signing up to a 12 or 18 month contract based on a really attractive introductory rate. At the end of your contract the price will increase, often by more than 50%. You'd think that this would be enough to make everyone change provider at the end of their contract but the reality is 40% of households haven't switched broadband, phone or TV providers in the past 5 years while 1 in 3 people aren't even aware of the price increases they will face at the end of the introductory offer1.
The first thing consumers should do is check their last few bills from their broadband, phone and TV suppliers. Many consumers get all 3 services from 1 supplier which will make things easier. The bill should tell you when your contract expires and if there has been a recent increase in the prices you're paying then you have definitely come to the end of your introductory offer. If the bill excludes this information try finding the original contract you signed. If you cannot find this you can log in to your account with Sky, BT, Virgin, Talk Talk etc or call their customer services to find out.
It is also possible to switch providers mid-contract. However, contracts generally come with penalty charges and exit fee's if you decide to leave early. Ofcom rules mean there are some situations when it is possible to get out of a contract mid-term such as unexpected price increases from your provider mid-contract but these are rare occurrences2. For most consumers, it is best to wait until the end of their contract (or 30 days before the end of the contract) and then switch providers to take advantage of a new introductory offer. By doing this every 12 months you can be sure you are always paying the best rates in the market.
The reason most consumers don't switch regularly is they believe it is too difficult3. While in the past it could be a bit of a chore, it is now completely hassle-free. You can either ask your new chosen provider to do all the work for you, or you can use a switching service such as the one provided by TheMoneyDaily.
Call us on 0800 049 9749 to compare hundreds of bundle deals from all the major providers and find the best deal for you. We'll even do all the switching work for you.
The other big opportunity for customers is to bundle their services together with the one supplier. Customers who for example have BT for their home phone, Virgin for their broadband and Sky for their TV are more than likely paying too much for their services. The best deals available to consumers involve bundle offers that include broadband, TV and phone services4. Some even include mobile phone deals, known as a "quad service"
It's a sad fact that new customers generally get better deals than existing ones5 but at the same time, companies like Sky, BT, Virgin and TalkTalk hate to lose customers, especially if they're losing them to a big rival. For this reason, it is sometimes possible to negotiate a better deal with your existing provider. These are often known as retention deals and are only offered when a customer threatens to cancel their service and move to another provider.
There are a number of different strategies that can be used here. Firstly you could try to cancel any services you don't need - maybe those HD sports or movie channels you signed up for but never watch. Another strategy would be to bundle your services together. You could, for example, contact your TV provider and ask them for a quote to switch your phone line and broadband services to them. A quick check of your current bills should allow you to work out whether this is a better overall price or not.
Another strategy, if you can afford it would be to offer to pay up front for your services. From time to time, the big providers will offer discounts for customers willing to pay for their broadband services or line rental 12 months in advance.
If none of these work then it's time to threaten to leave. Either tell them you're unhappy about the fact new customers or customers of a rival provider are paying far less than you, or tell them you can no longer afford their service and want to cancel to move to a budget option. As mentioned before the big providers hate to lose customers and have teams of call centre staff armed with daily budgets who's sole job is to stop you from leaving. Before you go down this route however, be sure you are prepared to move to a different provider or go without those HD channels. There is nothing to stop you hanging up the call if you don't get the desired response from the call centre staff but you will feel a bit deflated if they call your bluff and refuse to reduce your monthly bill. If so, it's probably time to switch.
1 Mirror.co.uk The Mistake That's Costing You An Extra £320 On Broadband
2 Lawgistics.co.uk Mid Contract Price Increases Within Landline, Mobile And Broadband Contracts
3 BBC.com Ofcom Targets Phone & Broadband Switching Slammers
4 Clearscore.com Is It Worth Getting Your TV, Internet, Landline And Mobile All In One Package? 5 Independent.co.uk TV And Broadband Customers Facing £700 Loyalty Penalties