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Email fears mean millions miss out on broadband savings

Written by: Emma Lunn
More than two million households are not switching their broadband supplier due to fears over losing an email address provided by their current provider.

According to Uswitch, these broadband customers are wasting up to £121 a year by not switching to the cheapest deal.

The price comparison site found that almost half (46%) of people with an email address from their broadband provider have had it for more than 10 years, and two-fifths say they haven’t got a new deal since signing up.

One in 10 people told Uswitch they had been put off changing suppliers in case they lost their email address. A third of over-65s feared they would lose contact with family or friends if they moved away from their broadband provider email.

Nearly a quarter (23%) of broadband customers – almost 13 million people – currently use an email address provided by their broadband supplier, with BT accounts the most popular.

The perceived hassle of changing email accounts means many people stay with their broadband company to keep their address. Uswitch found that consumers with a broadband provider email account have had it for almost eight years on average, and almost half (46%) of these people have had it for more than 10 years.

Staying with the same provider means that consumers miss out on better deals with other suppliers. Two-fifths of those with a provider email address haven’t even taken out a new deal with their supplier since signing up, meaning they could be paying £121 a year more than they should be.

Three in 10 (30%) people with a broadband email would not change their address as they believe they will miss important information or messages. One in 10 said that they have been put off switching suppliers in the past in case it meant losing access to their email.

Catherine Hiley, broadband expert at Uswitch, said: “Signing up for a broadband package with one of the larger providers usually comes with an email address. But this innocuous freebie can sometimes end up costing loyal customers more in the long run.

“Some providers will let you keep your email address, but the cost of this means that you’re usually better off setting up a free account elsewhere and transferring your important data. You might also want to set up an auto-responder for your old email address that lets friends and family know that their message has been forwarded to a new address.

“While Sky allows you to hold onto your email address indefinitely, BT charges you £5 a month to access your account. Virgin Media is the strictest, and gives you only 90 days after you switch to move to a new email.”

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