It’s not all bad news when your broadband provider increases prices. You’ve got an opportunity to see if you can get a better deal.
When you sign up for something, you expect the prices to stay the same while you’re in contract. But sadly the likes of BT, Sky and Virgin don’t agree.
We’ve seen broadband bills jump up at least every 12 months, if not more, over the last few years, despite the actual costs for the companies actually falling. No doubt we’re subsidising the continued Premier League TV coverage price war.
But what can you do about it? Well if you’ve been plagued by substandard internet connections, the increase is often a chance to get out of your contract. And even if you’re happy with the service you get you might be able to use an increase to save money.
Your rights when broadband prices go up
Price hikes usually mean you can leave penalty free – even if you’re still within the minimum contract period.
To do this you need to let your provider know that you wish to leave, usually within 30 days of being notified of the increase. You’ll also have to give notice.
If you’re out of contract then you can leave at any time, though you will also have to give notice, normally a month.
However before you do this, find out if you’ll get a refund on anything you’ve paid up front for, like a 12-month line rental saving package with BT.
Get a better deal
This is a good opportunity to see what you can save – either by moving to a cheaper company or negotiating for a discount. So it pays to research not just what you’ll be paying after the increase, but also what other offers are out there.
Switch to a different provider
Some of the best deals are for new customers. Sign up via a cashback site and you can get as much as £180 back. Plus you can usually combine these with other promotions. So when I switched to Virgin a few months ago, I was given a huge discount on a super fast connection for the first year.
Haggle for a discount
Once you’ve done your research on competitor’s deals, call up your current supplier and tell them you’re thinking of leaving as a result of the price hikes. You should be able to haggle a discount or some extras.
I managed to get my fibre broadband bill with BT down to £5 a few years ago this way. If I’d wanted I could have got a discount on TV or BT Sport too but I decided instead it was cheaper to axe the TV service completely and get deals on NOW TV passes.
Cancel and get your partner to join as a new customer
A final option if you want to stay with the same company, and are willing to get a new landline number, is to cancel your contract and get your partner to sign up as a new customer. He/she can then get all the savings you get as a newbie, but you shouldn’t see any gaps in service.
The danger of bundle deals
When BT hiked prices last February, I not only had my phone and broadband through the telecoms giant, I also had my mobile phone contract. And this complicated things.
As part of being a BT customer I got £5 off my monthly mobile bill. So if I was to leave BT I’d still be in contract with BT Mobile, but would have to pay the extra £5 a month. In the end we followed the last tip above. Becky signed up as a new BT customer and I transferred my mobile account over. So we got big discounts as newbies and I kept my £5 saving.
So it’s worth considering potential price increases or changes to service (such as TV channels being removed) when you sign up for bundles. There’s going to be a lot of competition to get you to move your mobile phone to your broadband, phone and TV supplier. Once you’re locked in, it becomes more difficult to change the parts you don’t like.