If left to fester for longer than the contract period, Broadband and TV package costs add up quickly. Bills can more than double with countless rises throughout the year. This is even more prevalent with Broadband deals.
Did you know that if you actively manage your Broadband and switch when your contract has ended, a Fiber connection is actually cheaper than the standard, slower connection? This is because they’re hoping you won’t switch when your contract is up!
We can beat them at their own game with a little bit of time and scheduling.
Broadband and TV packages, like many other areas in the UK are dominated by big corporations with a lot of money and not much regulation. They use sleazy car sales techniques to rope the gullible into contracts which double or triple in cost when the ‘introductory rate’ has finished and they use scare tactics to make you sign up and stay. The contracts are incredibly hard to cancel and usually have a plethora of connection issues with support call centres reading from scripts.
To put it bluntly; they’re absolutely rubbish. Take a look at TrustPilot for the biggest Broadband providers and you’ll see that most have a 1 star rating. These companies put profits first because they can get away with it. It’s an industry that they own, making it incredibly hard for any disruptors to penetrate it, so they can do what they like.
So, we’re stuck with them. What can we do to pay them as little as possible?
Switch, switch, switch
As with most services that you own, the motto here is to make sure you always switch. Almost all services (unless you find a gem like Bulb <- Use theFIREstarter ’s affiliate link to get £50 off) have an ‘introductory rate’ that ends after your initial contract. This is even the same with most mortgages.
It shouldn’t be like this, companies should be discounting the price for loyal customers who’ve been with them for the longest. But, they’ve found a way that’s earning them more money by tricking the unbeknownst and they’d rather take that route than provide customer satisfaction. In the 21st century, we truly live in a cut-throat digital world.
SO, you must switch when your contract is up. Either switch or negotiate a new deal, unless you want to be stuck paying a hella lot more for your service.
Let’s compare internet plans on offer so we can check them out.
- £25 per month for 18 months
- Then rises to £38.99 per month
- 35.6% increase in price
- £27 per month for 12 months
- Then rises to £42 per month
- 35.7% increase in price
- £29.99 per month for 18 months
- £80 reward card given for new customers (bringing monthly cost down to £25.50 for 18 months)
- Then rises to £37.99 per month
- 32.9% increase in price (taking into account £80 reward card)
- £23.50 per month for 18 months
- Then rises to £32.98
- 28.75% increase in price
I couldn’t find any broadband provider that doesn’t hike the prices up for existing customers. What has the world come to?
On average you’ll be paying more than 30% extra if you stay with the same provider, forcing you to switch every 12-18 months.
Luckily, it only takes up a little bit of your time once a year to decrease your bill massively every month.
These are a must with any contract signings, especially Broadband deals! This is my Quidco cashback history for the last two years of broadband purchases.
Cashback sites even make fiber deals cheaper than standard deals. If you make sure you switch every time your contract ends, you’ll end up with much cheaper internet (faster too!).
From browsing through my top two favorite cashback sites, Quidco and TopCashback , searching ‘broadband’ returns a lot of results. The best offer I found was on Quidco with this BT broadband deal of £125 cashback as well as the BT £140 reward card.
With this exact BT broadband deal, the cost is £39.99 per month, with the £125 Quidco cashback and £140 BT rewards card, the true monthly cost now comes down to £25 per month!
If, when you get to the end of your 18 month contract, you decide to stay on this deal. Your cost would go up to £58.99 per month, more than doubling your monthly cost. Making it even more ludicrous if you decide not to switch.
These cashback offers generally take a few months to come in after you’ve signed up, but I’ve never not been paid. It’s good to get into the habit of checking TopCashback and Quidco before you enter into any new contracts or buy any big ticket items as usually they’ll be some money you can save. These sites work similarly to affiliate hacking[efn_note]Link to guide coming soon[/efn_note] as they’re giving most of the affiliate commission that they earn back to you.
They’re really simple to use and completely free! All you have to do is search what you’re looking for, click on the deal that you want and then click on ‘get cashback’ or ‘go to deal’ and it will automatically redirect you to the product website.
If you’ve not signed up to any cashback sites yet, I’d recommend doing so here (get a £10 cashback bonus through this link!) and here , then you’ll be ready to quickly scan what’s on offer before making a purchase or signing a contract!
Before you actually switch your service, you should first try and negotiate a better deal with your current provider. This is a normal procedure and the cancelling department for your provider will be ready to offer you all of their latest deals to get you to sign up to another 12 or 18 months! Sometimes you may even get a better deal than what’s advertised online.
Before you ring up, you’ll first want to check online to find the best deals that your current provider and others have on offer, including the cashback you can get. Write all of this down and use this as ammo when you’re negotiating.
Next, ring up your current provider and state that you want to cancel. You’ll be fast-tracked through to a smooth talking salesman who will try and get you to stay.
Here are the numbers you need to ring for some of the bigger providers:
Sky Broadband - 0333 759 2632
Virgin Media - 0345 454 1111
BT Broadband - 0800 783 1401
Plusnet - 0800 013 2632
TalkTalk - 0345 172 0088
Take all of the reward cards and cashback, add it together and then divide that with the contract length, then take that off the advertised monthly figure to get your true monthly cost.
Monthly Cost - ((Cashback + Reward Cash) / Contract Length) = True Monthly Cost
So, to round it all up, here are the ultimate steps to follow to find the cheapest broadband deals (or any other service).
- Go to a comparison website like MoneySupermarket or CompareTheMarket (my favorite), search for the cheapest Broadband deals.
- Load up Quidco and TopCashback and also search for Broadband cashback offers.
- Use the cashback offers and comparison sites to calculate the true monthly cost using the formula above.
- Ring up your current provider and say that you want to cancel.
- Negotiate the lowest deal you can with the cancellations department. Never accept the first offer (think like you’re bartering at a market).
- Decide whether you’ll accept the negotiated price and sign up to a new contract or go with one of the other offers you’ve found.
- Remember to consider costs such as ‘set-up fee’ or ‘delivery charge’ if your new provider has these as it will effect your true monthly cost.
- Remember that you can’t switch to your existing provider as a new customer (you can if you’ve not been with them for 12-18 months), but they should offer you at least that deal for you to stay anyway.
- Pick an offer and sign up!
- Set a reminder or start a Google sheet to remind you when you’ll need to start looking again (in 12 or 18 months time).
NOTE: Broadband providers are really sneaky and make it pretty difficult to set up with a new company on the exact date that your contract ends with your previous company. You can’t actually cancel your broadband and then activate with a new provider without paying hefty ‘disconnection’ and ‘reconnection’ charges.
Most providers also can’t give you an exact date for when you’ll be switched over. This means that it will be less hassle for you to wait until your contract end date then begin the switch to your new provider. This unfortunately also means that you’ll pay the inflated, end of contract price for 2 - 4 weeks, but trust me, it’s worth the cost.
A similar set of rules can be followed for things like car insurance, home insurance, utilities. Any service that has some kind of contract really.
What might the future hold?
Even though we can beat the mega corps at their own games and get the price that we deserve, it’s still pretty frustrating that we have to do this. It’s not always been like this, but these days, most companies seem to be relying on cut-throat sales tactics and free trial conning rather than customer satisfaction.
We are starting to see some changes with utility companies where smaller disruptors can actually get into the market and offer a customer-first experience. Internet service providers haven’t quite got there yet.
But there is hope! Thanks to this guy.
Yep, Elon Musk’s SpaceX is hoping to fix our internet problem by launching 12,000 mini-internet satellites into orbit by the end of 2020. His plan? To provide low-cost broadband connectivity to the whole planet.
Until then, you’ll have to keep on navigating the financial swamp and keep on switching!