Sky, BT and Virgin Media customers have been given some money-saving tips to help them reduce their monthly broadband bill. The sage advice from consumer group Which? includes “simple” things anyone can do today, such as switching broadand provider which can save you almost £200 alone. The advice from Which? comes as millions of people in the UK are facing an unprecedented cost of living crisis which is leading to higher bills, petrol prices, food costs and more.
Adam French, Which? consumer rights expert, said: “Despite the cost of living crisis, many providers have not hesitated to impose above-inflation price hikes, leaving customers feeling the pressure. But, there are steps you can take to minimise the cost of broadband and mobile bills.
“It’s worth shopping around or haggling for the best deal, particularly if you’re out of contract. Which? research has found that haggling with your providers or switching deals could save you hundreds of pounds a year.”
To help with the cost of living crisis, Which? will be offering money-saving tips every Monday that will cover a range of topics from cutting down bills to saving on childcare and travel costs.
Here’s some of the latest tips from Which? on how to cut back on your broadband bills…
1. Switch providers at the end of your contract
If you’re coming to the end of your broadband contract then you may want to switch providers.
Telecoms firms such as Virgin Media offer reduced price contracts to bring new customers in, but after the intial contract period is up (which in the case of Virgin Media is 18 months) prices increase.
For instance, Virgin Media’s M100 Fibre Broadband package (which boasts impressive average download speeds of 108Mbps) has a £25 a month cost for new customers. But after the initial 18 month contract is up this increases to £44 a month – almost £20 a month more.
Which? explained that if you change your broadband provider you can save as much as £190 on your annual broadband bill alone. If you have a TV and broadband package this can rise to over £200.
2. Try negotiating at the end of your contract
Alternatively, if you don’t want to move providers you could always try haggling.
While you may feel nervous doing this, especially if this is your first time trying, Which? said many companies expect this.
Which? found that people who haggled for broadband and TV contracts on average saved £128, while those haggling for a broadband plan alone saved on average £85.
3. Lookout for free perks for joining
Broadband providers sometimes offer extra freebies to entice new customers into joining their service.
These kind of bonuses include free wireless speakers, tablets and televisions – which you can either sell to make money back, or these gadgets may be products you’re in fact after, helping you save hundreds in the process.
Broadband providers also sometimes offer vouchers for big name retailers like Amazon as a reward for joining as a new customer. Vouchers Which? have spotted have been worth as much as £100.
4. See if you can claim a reduced price tariff
If you’re on a means-tested benefit such as Universal Credit you may be entitled to join a reduced price social tariff.
These are available to help financially vulnerable customers and can save you as much as £144 each year.
The typical standard broadband package costs £27 a month, but social tariffs are available for as little as £15 a month.
5. Be careful of price rises in the Ts and Cs
Usually customers are able to exit a contract penalty-free if their provider announces a price rise.
However, if a price rise is included in the terms and conditions of a contract this doesn’t apply.
If you are within the minimum contract period you’ll just unfortunately have to accept this.
Which? said price rises that have already been announced for this year would add as much as £55 to the average customer’s annual broadband bill.
You can avoid this by switching away (if you’re able to exit a contract penalty-free) or by picking a provider with a fixed price.
Providers such as Hyperoptic, SSE, Utility Warehouse and Zen Internet all commit to keeping their tariffs the same for the duration of a contract.