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Should you haggle or switch to save money on broadband?

Written by: Emma Lunn
With broadband and mobile phone prices increasing, experts have found that the average user can save £130 a year by haggling over their contract – but £200 or more by switching suppliers.

Which? researchers asked more than 5,000 customers whose contracts for either mobile, broadband, or broadband and TV, had ended whether they had haggled or switched providers and how much money they had saved in the process.

The consumer champion found that nearly half (46%) of the people surveyed had haggled with their existing provider with their contract ended. These people reported saving an average £85 on broadband, £128 on broadband and TV, and £35 on mobile bills.

One in five (19%) people switched to a different provider, with the vast majority telling Which? they did so because they felt they were paying too much. Those who switched saved an average £35 on broadband, £65 on broadband and TV, and £40 on mobile bills. However, Which? found that customers who switched away from a large provider could save even more.

When it came to broadband and TV packages, Which? found that those who left Virgin Media reported saving more than £200 a year. Above-average savings were also made by those who left Sky (£180), Talk Talk (£90) and BT (£80), despite the average savings for switchers amounting to £65 a year across all providers.

Customers are often reluctant to change their broadband and TV provider because offerings can differ depending on the provider, but Which?’s survey found many did not need to switch to another supplier to bag a good discount, as those who haggled reported an average saving of £130.

Which? found customers who left Virgin Media broadband packages saved more than £190 a year, while those who left BT reported a saving of almost £160 a year and those who left Sky saved almost £100.

When it came to mobile services, customers who switched away from Vodafone, Three and O2 told Which? they saved up to £100 a year. The average for switchers across all mobile providers was lower at £40 a year.

EE was the only large mobile provider whose customers were able to make a better saving from haggling, with an average £75 discount over the course of the year.

The Which? survey also found one in five (22%) people did nothing when their contract ended. These people are the customers most at risk of overpaying on their bills as both switchers and hagglers were able to make a good saving.

Which?’s findings come as many providers have confirmed they will be raising their prices this Spring. BT, for example, is putting prices up by up to 9%.

As these inflation-related increases are baked into customer contracts, they will leave many with no choice but to pay them or face costly fees to leave their provider mid-contract.

Lisa Barber, Which? home products and services editor, said: “With the cost of living soaring, it’s even more important to cut costs where you can. If you are happy with your current TV, broadband and mobile providers don’t be afraid to haggle when your contract ends as it is easier than you might think and you could save a lot of money.

“If you are not happy with your provider or are looking to avoid a costly price hike, or your service is just not good enough, shop around and consider switching.”

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