According to a recent survey by Which?, broadband customers who haggle with their broadband service providers could save an average of £120 a year. Even so, most have never try.
The survey included about 5,000 participants, which asked broadband customers how much they pay for their broadband, and if they have haggled with their provider for a lower price or switched to a new provider in the last 12 months. If so, the survey also asked how much they money they saved by haggling or switching.
About 45% of the participants had never asked for a better deal, while 38% had never switched providers and 24% had not switched in more than three years. Of those who had negotiated a better deal, most of these were successful, with about 78% of these being offered a discount or a better deal.
For those respondents who hadn’t tried to renegotiate a better deal, one quarter of them said it was too difficult to do so.
Ofcom’s New Plans to Make Switching Easier
Ofcom, the communications regulator in the UK, will be reviewing these issues in the coming year, with the goal of making it easier to switch providers. They’re looking at a plan to make the end-of-contract notification system easier, starting in February 2020.
In addition, the communication regulator is encouraging broadband providers to protect their most vulnerable customers. Part of this effort includes a new Fairness for Customers commitment and a Fairness Framework. Under these plans, ISPs will pledge to give customers a fair deal and have a “fair approach to pricing.”
Those customers who do not choose to switch find broadband services are more expensive. This is the case even if they’re paying more than when they first signed up.
The Benefits of Haggling
Natalie Hitchins, Which? Head of Home Products and Services, said, “Many of us obediently pay our bills throughout the year with ever giving it a second thought but just one phone call or online chat could save £120 this Christmas.
“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.”
What Can You Get by Haggling?
There’s no way to tell for sure, until contacting your broadband service provider. However, Which? found that the most common offerings included:
- Fixed discount payments (monthly, quarterly, or yearly)
- Free equipment (router, etc.)
- Increased speed
- Additional landline services
- Increased data limit
How to Haggle
Many people are hesitant to renegotiate their broadband (or other) services. However, doing so can save you money, get you a better deal, etc. Here are some tips to help in case you’re feeling unsure of haggling in general, or how to do it.
1). Do your research: go online and compare deals from rival service providers for packages similar to yours. Write down the different prices for each ISP either on paper or in a spreadsheet, etc. Also note down any extras that come with the packages.
Research will give you the knowledge you need to get the best deal and you’ll look knowledgeable when chatting with your broadband provider. This will help you get the best deal possible and it only takes a little effort.
2). Service notes with current provider: make sure to compile the information of how long you’ve been with your service provider, and any issues you’ve had the service over that time. This is information you can use to get a better deal. If they offer you a contract, be sure to note how long it will last. If you don’t want the package and only want the broadband, then make this clear.
3). You’re ready to call: now you’ve compiled the previous information you’re ready to contact your broadband service provider. Talk with them and let them know you’ve seen other offers from competitors that look enticing and ask if these can be matched or even beaten. If you’re not able to afford their service to due your income (for example, if you receive a state pension, etc.), then be sure to bring this up, too. And remember to always be pleasant, polite and persistent.
4). Not happy with the offer: at this point, you may not be happy with their offer. That’s OK. Now’s the time say that you’ll need to consider changing to another provider. Even if you don’t intend to change, this is part of the haggling you’ll need to do. At this point, it’s time to ask to be switched to the cancellation department, if the customer service rep hasn’t offered to do this yet.
5). Cancellation department offers: here you may find they’re willing to give you a better offer just to keep you from switching to a competitor. You’ll have to go through why you want to change, etc. again. That’s OK, this is part of the process. Just play along. If they don’t offer a discount you’re happy with, then tell them you’d like to go for now and think about their offer. Then end the call. They may call you back later, or you can wait a couple of weeks and try again. You might have better luck with a different customer representative.
Keep in mind that haggling usually only works with the larger ISPs who are set up to compete. The smaller ISPs are just not able to accommodate such requests easily.
Also remember to watch out for discounts that come with longer service contracts. This is common; if you’re OK with that, then go with the longer term. However, if you’re not happy with that, then redirect the conversation back to other types of discounts they may be able to offer.
Ultimately, if you’re not happy with the deal your current provider offers, then it may be time to consider switching to a new broadband service provider with a deal or package that’s better for you and your budget.