On the 7th January 2018, BT will be increasing some of its broadband prices by up to £30 a year. This is the fourth price hike in less than three years, with the company last increasing prices in April.
However, it’s not all bad news, and BT has confirmed that as per Ofcom guidelines, customers affected by these changes will be able to leave their contracts penalty-free. These changes also won’t affect everyone and BT has confirmed that the costs of line rental, BT TV and its BT Basic package will be frozen.
Customers on introductory or promotional deals will also not be affected. All BT customers should have been contacted by the 8th December, informing them that the price of their broadband will increase either on the 7th January, or at the end of their current deal. They then have a thirty-day grace period between these two dates to either switch suppliers or haggle for a better deal.
If you’re affected by this, and are fed up of BT’s constant price hikes, or if you just want a better deal on your broadband, there are a number of things you can do to cut costs and potentially save yourself hundreds of pounds a year.
1. Compare Broadband Prices
Before you consider continuing with your current broadband package, you should check what else is being offered on the market. Comparethemarket.com and other price comparison websites will compare prices from all the major broadband providers and find the best deal available in your area.
To find the biggest savings, check several comparison websites, as companies occasionally advertise different deals on different sites. You should also be aware that many comparison sites receive commission from certain companies to put their results at the top of the page, even when they don’t give the cheapest on offers.
The broadband market is extremely competitive and as most people already have a broadband provider, companies are desperate to keep existing customers. They should be willing to drastically reduce prices and give you a better deal, as long as you know how to haggle properly.
BT are also one of the easiest companies to haggle with, and in a recent survey, 78% of BT customers said their price was reduced when they haggled, so if you’re affected by BT’s latest price hike, and don’t want to switch suppliers, this is one of the easiest ways to get cheaper broadband.
All you need to do is call your provider and tell them you’re paying too much, or that a rival is cheaper (if you have proof that one is). If they refuse to negotiate, tell them you’re going to leave, and they might put you through to someone who can possibly offer unpublicised deals as they would rather not lose a customer, and you can put your haggling skills to good use.
When haggling, there are a few things to remember in order to ensure you get the best deal possible:
- Be kind and charming- customer service reps aren’t going to be very willing to help you if you come across as rude and angry. Instead be polite, calm, but firm, and they’ll be more likely to want to help you.
- Decide what speed you need – unless you do a lot of downloading or streaming, its unlikely that you’ll need super fast broadband. Therefore, if you’re paying for a fibre-optic connection when you don’t need one, you can use this as an excuse to haggle the price down even further.
- Don’t worry if they call your bluff – many people are worried about threatening to leave in case their providers disconnect them. If this happens, remain calm, and tell the representative that you’ll think about it and call back later.
- Tell them of any problems you’ve had during your contract – If you’ve had slow broadband or have been accidentally disconnected before, tell the salesperson you’re speaking to, it’s probable that they will want to make this up to you and offer a cheaper price.
- Don’t agree to the first offer they give you, as more often than not they can give you a better deal if you keep negotiating.
- If they refuse to reduce the price, see if they will throw in any extras. Big companies like BT, Virgin, and Sky all have TV packages that are often included with their broadband deals. However, all broadband suppliers should have something they’re able to offer you, such as free calls or maybe a free gift.
- If your broadband company still says no, vote with your feet. There’s no point threatening to leave, if you’re not willing to go through with it. Remember that new customers usually get the best deals, and there are plenty of things you can do to reduce the price even further!
3. Use a Cash Back Website
Cash back sites like as Quidco or Topcashback pay rewards when you go via them when you are shopping online, and most broadband providers are part of their schemes. When buying low priced goods through these sites, the amount of cashback you’ll receive is small, however, the more expensive the thing you’re buying, the more cash back you will receive, so you can really get a lot back when buying broadband.
For example, Quidco are currently offering between £10 and £170 cash back on BT broadband packages. The biggest pay out is for BT’s Quad Play deal which includes TV, calls, broadband and a mobile contract. BT are also offering all customers a £50 Amazon gift card when you get this deal, meaning you’ll get almost six months worth of broadband for free!
4. Only Pay for What You Use
Be wary of how much data you use. Most broadband companies will probably try to sell you unlimited data. However, if you only use the internet for browsing web pages and online shopping, it’s unlikely you’re using enough data to warrant an unlimited data package.
On the other hand however, if you regularly watch videos online, or do a lot of online gaming, an unlimited data package will be best for you, as these consume a lot of data. Although limited data packages can be better value for money, there are often steep penalties for going over these limits. For example, BT currently charge £1.80 per gigabyte you use over your data allowance, so when choosing a data package ensure it is appropriate for your needs.
5. Bundled Vs. Unbundled Deals
Most broadband providers, such as BT, TalkTalk, Sky and Virgin offer bundled deals, where you can pay a single fee for a number of services. The most common of which is called “triple pay” and includes broadband, landline calls and subscription TV as part of a single package. Whilst this may seem good value for money, due to the amount you get in return, it’s important to think about whether it’s necessary.
If you mainly make and receive calls from your mobile or online, via applications such as Skype, it’s unlikely that you’ll need a substantial landline package. Few broadband packages come without a landline package at all ; however, Virgin Media have started offering a few if this seems the best way forward for you.
Similarly, if you do not watch much TV, or already use a subscription service, such as Netflix, then it probably won’t be worth paying for an additional TV subscription, regardless of its price.
However, even if a triple-pay deal does seems like a good deal for you, it’s unlikely to be the best value for money. A line-rental and broadband deal, combined with a Now-TV pass, which allows you to watch all programmes available on Sky TV via your broadband is cheaper than any triple-pay deal on the market!
6. How you Pay
Before you sign up to any deal, consider how you pay. You’ll often get a discount if you pay by direct debit, and it also means that you won’t have to worry about forgetting to pay each month. Alternatively, you may be able to a pay for your entire contract in one lump sum, which is likely to net huge savings.
7. Hidden Costs
When signing up to a broadband provider, there may be hidden costs detailed in the small print that you might not be aware of. For example, you may be charged an expensive re-connection fee if you move house during the length of your contract. Always ensure you read the small print before signing any contract and that any extra charges you might have to pay are not disproportionately expensive.