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Broadband users with linked email address ‘held to ransom’

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Customers who have an email address linked to their broadband provider are less likely to switch deals and are therefore missing out on big savings.

Some broadband providers don’t allow departing customers to keep their linked email addresses, or they charge an additional fee per month if users want to continue to use their mailbox.

It is estimated around a quarter of adults in the UK have an email address linked to their broadband provider, and as such, one in six said they’re put off from switching due to the fear of losing years’ worth of emails or being charged to continue access.

The research from revealed that just 15% of people have switched broadband provider in the last year, meaning many are missing out on an estimated £100 of annual savings.

Of the four big UK broadband providers which supply 90% of homes, only Sky doesn’t limit access to email addresses post switch, or charge its customers to keep it.

Virgin allows customers to keep their address for 90 days before deleting it, BT charges £7.50 per month and Talk Talk charges £5 a month.

Older people are much more likely than ‘generation z’ to have an email address linked to their broadband provider, with one in six (15%) 18-24 year olds to nearly two in five (39%) people aged over 65.

Older people are also the least likely to switch as a result of charges associated with keeping an email address.

‘Fear of losing an email address leads to switching inertia’

Holly Niblett, head of digital at said: “It seems that many broadband providers are holding customers to ransom over their email addresses. Email addresses have fast become a vital and necessary part of our everyday lives.

“It’s unacceptable that the fear of losing an email address is leading to switching inertia, particularly amongst over 65s, who are more likely paying over the odds for broadband as a result. Better value deals tend to be secured by those out of contract and able to switch.

“With broadband increasingly recognised by the government as an essential utility, a fairer and more transparent system for customers to keep their email addresses when they switch provider is long overdue. Urgent reform is needed.”

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