Haggling with your broadband provider could save an average of £120 a year, according to research from Which?.
Which? asked more than 5,000 people how much they paid for broadband, if they had haggled for a new deal over the past 12 months, and if they’d switched to a new provider. For those who had haggled or switched, the customers were also asked how much money they had saved.
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Nearly half (45 per cent) of respondents said they had never asked for a better deal, 38 per cent had never switched and another quarter hadn’t switched in at least the last three years. However, of the 51 per cent who said they had haggled, more than three quarters (78 per cent) were offered an incentive, discount or a better deal.
Customers who had not haggled in the past two years admitted that this was because they thought it would be too much hassle.
“Many of us obediently pay our bills throughout the year without ever giving it a second thought but just one phone call or online chat could save you £120 this Christmas,” said Natalie Hitchins, Which? Head of Home Products and Services. “There are bigger savings to be had for those willing to switch to a new provider, but even if you are happy where you are don’t be afraid to ask for a discount – it could make all the difference.”
When Which? asked customers who had not recently negotiated if they were paying more, less or the same as when they first signed up to their broadband package, most said they paid the same (51 per cent) although 38 per cent of Vodafone customers, in particular, said they were paying less, while three in 10 Virgin Media customers told Which? they’re now paying more.
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For those customers who have recently switched provider in order to get a better deal, seven in ten said the process was easy and, in the case of all the ISPs using the Openreach network – BT, EE, Plusnet, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and Zen Internet – this is largely because of what’s known as “gaining provider-led switching”.
This switching process means customers only have to contact their new provider to ask to switch and the new provider will do all the paperwork, will speak to the previous provider and arrange the logistics of the switch.
An exception to this is Virgin Media (VM). To switch from Virgin Media, customers need to contact VM to cancel their contract before asking their new provider to activate it. This is called a “cease and re-provide” process and is more likely to result in a period where you don’t have any connection as one ends and you have to wait for the new one to begin.
By December 2020, all providers will be required to use “gaining provider-led switching” under the European Electronics Communication Code and the communications watchdog Ofcom is currently considering how it plans to implement these requirements in the UK.
If you’re looking to switch broadband provider, we’ve explained some key points to look out for including why advertised speeds don’t always tell the full story.