Huge price rises on the way
If you’re a BT customer, then you face some massive hikes in your bills in the months ahead.
The communications giant has confirmed that from the end of March most customers will see their broadband and phone bills jump by 9.3%. This works out at an average of an extra £3.50 a month.
BT said that this is largely down to the enormous increases in data use by customers, noting that there has been a 90% jump in broadband use and a 79% increase in mobile over the last couple of years.
It said it wants to keep investing in its infrastructure so that it can deliver the best possible service.
A few years ago BT changed the way that it would handle price rises. For those who joined before September 2020, the price increase would be set at the consumer prices index (CPI) rate of inflation, while for those who joined after that date it would be set at CPI plus 3.9%.
Not all customers will face these bill increases though. The financially vulnerable who are on packages like BT Home Essentials, BT Home Phone Saver and BT Basic, the prices will be unchanged.
If you’re still in a contract, you can’t leave BT without paying an exit fee.
That’s because when taking out a new contract, BT will have been obliged to warn you about the possibility of price increases at the rate of inflation.
If you’re out of contract, then you can move on without an exit fee.
If you’re coming close to the end of your deal, then now’s a good time to start shopping around to get a good idea of what prices you may pay if you move elsewhere.
It doesn't hurt to haggle
BT might not be the cheapest telecoms company, but it is the UK’s biggest provider and many customers like the security that comes with a well-established brand.
That doesn't mean existing customers have to simply put up with price hikes though – you can haggle your way to a cheaper deal.
All you have to do is call 0800 783 1401.
This is the number you call to cancel services but what will actually happen is that you’ll be put through to a 'retentions' call centre, where the person on the other end will have the power to offer you an unpublicised deal.
It implies this on the BT website when it says: 'Before you cancel, we need to speak to you to confirm some details and discuss alternative options available.'
It’s best to call when your contract is about to end, or has already done so.
Hi Kathy, if you give us a call on 0800 783 1401 the loyalty team will check what deals are available for you. ^Aisling— BT (@bt_uk) June 18, 2019
How to haggle with BT
If you aren't confident speaking on the phone, it’s worth planning what you’re going to say. Have some negotiating phrases ready and use past service problems as ammunition.
Call when you are sure you have plenty of time to talk – this might not be a quick call.
There are some sure-fire phrases to getting you a better deal: “I’m leaving” or “I’m paying too much for my current package” and “x offers a cheaper deal.”
To back up your argument, take a look around the best buys on the market to see if you can genuinely get a better deal elsewhere.
Alternatively, tell them the maximum you want to spend each month – say £30 – and ask what you can get for your money.
The secret of haggling is not to be rude or defensive, but use a little charm. Try and build a rapport with the person you speak to so they will like you and give you the best deal they can.
Don’t go with the first offer. Chances are, it's not the best deal they can do. If they can’t or won't slash the price, see if they can include any extras, such as free calls or BT Sport.
Don’t rush into anything if you’re not sure – say you need to check with your partner/flatmates/parents first.
Find out more at How to haggle and save a fortune.
Our customer options team on 0800 783 1401 handle all cancellation requests Grant. ^Karl— BT (@bt_uk) June 18, 2019
Cut back on your call package
Think about how you use your landline. Are you on the right deal?
Unlimited free calls might be nice to have, but if you aren't using it that often then it is likely costing you a fair bit.
If you own a mobile phone contract and have decent reception at home, check how many free minutes you get. Chances are you could use your mobile for all your calls and scrap BT call packages altogether.
And look out for extras like Call Barring, which can cost up to £13.49 a month.
Can you ditch BT fee-free?
If you're outside of a contract period and looking to join someone new, you can pocket some decent cash when you take out a deal from sites like Quidco and TopCashback.
Remember, cashback deals are only available to 'new' customers – so if you cancel your services and order them again via a cashback site, it’s probably not going to work
Get paid to pay your BT bill
Some bank accounts pay cashback on your Direct Debits, including the money spent on broadband, TV and phone packages, so you can earn a few quid back every month.
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