Sky TalkTalk: the broadband providers that upgrade your account without asking
Some broadband providers will automatically upgrade your package to a more expensive deal if your usage tips over the monthly limit.
Annoyingly, if you use the internet more than your broadband deal allows – even by just a smidge – the likes of Sky and TalkTalk can upgrade your package without asking you first.
You will automatically be shifted onto a more expensive monthly arrangement, even if you had no idea how much data you were using or that you had exceeded your monthly allowance.
If you’re a Sky customer, the first you may know of your data usage could be when you receive a letter informing you that you’re being moved onto the new deal. This is likely to happen if you exceed your allowance twice in six months.
Once your package has been upgraded, you have to pay an extra £7.50 for at least one month before you can revert back to your old deal. If you go over your allowance again within the same six month period, you will be automatically upgraded again.
TalkTalk customers have a higher data allowance at 40GB for their basic package, compared to 2GB for Sky Broadband Everyday Lite, and if you top the allowance you will be notified by letter first.
However, if you exceed the limit for a third time in six months you will be automatically upgraded for an extra £5 a month and can also only unsubscribe after 30 days.
How much is in a gigabyte?
Roughly speaking, an hour spent browsing the internet could use up about 10MB, whereas 100 emails could be around 1MB.
TalkTalk estimates that 40GB gets you: 10,000 web pages a month, 500 digital pictures, 500 MP3 songs, 20 hours each spent watching YouTube, iTunes HD trailers and iPlayer usage, along with eight hours of iPlayer HD usage and 30 hours of using Spotify.
Why is the data usage higher than you thought?
For some customers a penalty (or automatic upgrade) will seem unjust. This is especially true if you have no idea how much data you use and would happily reign in the time spent on YouTube in order to keep costs down.
If you don’t know why your usage is riding so high, it’s worth investigating a number of possibilities. Most likely you or a member of your household has been downloading a lot of pictures, music and maybe TV programmes, which use up a lot of data, so consider cutting back.
Check your wireless security settings to ensure there aren’t any chancers living nearby who are using the internet – and therefore data – at your expense.
A computer virus could also be distorting your usage. You can install internet security software to protect your computer from these kinds of threats.
Monitor usage or switch deals
For the web surfers who aren’t surprised by the upgrade, it might serve as a reminder to check whether you have the best deal for your budget and broadband usage.
You can monitor how much data you have used up through both Sky and TalkTalk to make sure you stay within your limits and only pay for the package you can afford.
However, if you use the internet a lot more than your current deal permits, then it might be time to consider permanently upgrading or switching. In some cases it could be cheaper to upgrade with your existing provider and it’s worth considering Sky’s unlimited package because it is literally that – unlimited, unlike plans that claim to be so but do have a cap under their ‘fair usage policy’.
Either way, the best way to compare deals in your area is through a price comparison site like BroadbandChoices.co.uk.
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