Millions missing out on broadband savings
Today 15/02/22 Ofcom announced that “Millions of families under pressure from the rising cost of living could each save £144 on their annual broadband bills.”
Ofcom’s latest report on the affordability of communications services found that only 55,000 homes have taken advantage of discounted broadband packages available although an estimated 4.2 million households are entitled to receive them. Just 1.2% of homes. The rest are missing out on on average savings of £144 a year.
But only 55,000 homes have taken advantage of these discounted rates so far – just 1.2% of those eligible. That means that millions of benefits recipients are missing out on an average annual broadband saving of £144 each.
Many telecom providers are putting up their prices for phone, mobile and broadband. How can you save money on your bills? There are a number of ways you can cut the costs of your phone and Internet, and here I share just a few ways you can reduce your telecom outgoings.
Know your telecom consumer rights!
1) Under rules set by the regulator Ofcom, if you’re on a fixed-price contract for your broadband or mobile, your provider can’t put up your price beyond what was agreed when you signed up to your contract, without giving you a right to exit without a penalty. Providers must warn you when your current contract is ending and tell you what you could save by signing up to a new package.
2) They must give you at least 30 days’ notice of a change to your contract, during which time you can decide to move to a new provider. You may have to pay a penalty fee, depending on your contract terms.
3) Ofcom rules do not prohibit providers from using price variation terms. However, providers must make them sufficiently prominent and transparent when you agree to the contract (i.e. you are made aware of the different amounts you will have to pay at different points of the contract). If you have not been made aware, then you can leave the contract without any penalty, meaning you will not pay a termination fee.
Look at what you need and what you might be eligible for
4) Just as you can save your energy costs by looking at how you use appliances, you can do similar with how you use your packages. Before you do anything, take a good look at what you actually need. Check your download speeds. Check what you are and aren’t using. Do you need all the add-ons that you have? Are you actually using your landline more in evenings and weekends? Are you watching all the TV channels you are paying for? It may be that you could downgrade or get a more suitable package from another provider.
Are you eligible for discounted telecom packages?
5) Providers should have in place special, cheaper deals for people in receipt of certain benefits (sometimes known as ‘social tariffs’). In July 2021 Ofcom set out some boundaries for effective social tariffs, such as ensuring there are no data caps, minimal initial up-front costs and no early termination charges. Check with your provider what is available.
6) If you are on Universal Credit a number of providers will offer different deals. Currently six broadband providers offer at least one discounted offer priced between £10 – £20 a month for broadband speeds ranging from 10Mbit/s to 67Mbit/s. These are BT, Community Fibre, G.Network, Hyperoptic, KCOM and Virgin Media 02.
7) If you are a job seeker check out how to get six months of free broadband.
Look at switching provider
8) Use comparison websites, as well as going to telecom providers’ sites direct. Get an idea of the range of packages available and what you are prepared to pay before you make any decisions or start to haggle with your current provider.
9) Use cashback sites, such as TopCashback and Quidco. Check them all, as they have different offers and this could give you even more money off.
Armed with switching information, haggle
10) Use all the information you have gleaned from comparison and cashback sites when speaking to your current provider. Remember, if you’re ordering by telephone or on the Internet, you have 14 days to cancel if a better deal comes along in the meantime.
11) Be polite and assertive. Haggle on the length of the deal you get offered, as well as the price. Remember, companies expect and allow for giving discounts… so grab them!
12) Be open to any kind of upgrade. A few months ago I complained to Virgin Media about speeds and poor service, and after a few engineer visits and lots of complaining I got 6 months paid for, a discount on an upgrade and a free powerline.
13) Check to see if you have any deals available with credit cards or discount cards you may have too, such as a student card that may give you a discount on a telecom package.
This is a version of my article Telecom price hikes: 13 top tips for saving on your landline, mobile and broadband published on the Motley Fool 03/02/22.
Further help with complaining about telecom providers
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