Squeezed households could make significant savings if they “make a nuisance of themselves” by haggling with their broadband provider, according to Which?
As the cost of living soars, new Which? research indicates that people could potentially make annual savings of nearly £130 by haggling – and in some cases the amounts saved for those willing to switch could top £200.
The consumer group asked more than 5,000 customers whose contracts had ended on either their mobile, their broadband or their broadband and TV package whether they had haggled or switched.
Nearly half (46%) had haggled with their existing provider when their contract ended. These people reported saving an average £85 on broadband, £128 on broadband and TV and £35 on mobile bills.
A fifth (19%) of people switched to a different provider. Those who switched reported saving an average £35 on broadband, £65 on broadband and TV and £40 on mobile bills.
The Which? research also indicated that customers who switched away from big providers may be able to make above-average savings on broadband and TV packages, with some reporting saving more than £200 per year.
The survey also found one in five (22%) people did nothing when their contract ended. These people could be most at risk of overpaying on their bills, Which? warned.
Lisa Barber, Which? home products and services editor, said: “With the cost of living soaring, it’s even more important to cut costs where you can.
“If you are happy with your current TV, broadband and mobile providers, don’t be afraid to haggle when your contract ends as it is easier than you might think and you could save a lot of money.
“If you are not happy with your provider or are looking to avoid a costly price hike, or your service is just not good enough, shop around and consider switching.”
Ofcom advises that those struggling to pay for their phone or broadband service should speak to their provider as soon as possible to see how they can help.
A social tariff is among the range of options they can offer. This is a cheaper package which is available to some customers, depending on their circumstances.
Some providers offer social tariffs which are only available to customers who receive certain government benefits.
More information about social tariffs is available at www.ofcom.org.uk/news-centre/2021/struggling-to-afford-phone-or-broadband-social-tariff-could-help.
Here are some haggling tips from Which?:
– Remember that companies expect haggling and will often let customers upgrade their service while still offering a discount.
– Customers who are already out of contract can avoid a major hike by switching provider. Some broadband and mobile phone providers offer price guarantees meaning that their bills will not go up with inflation.
– Those who are out of contract with their mobile provider could consider low-cost Sim-only providers which offer monthly rolling contracts as this could help to manage costs if they already have a handset.