Millions of BT customers will see their bills increase by 1.3% from the end of March. We explain how customers can minimise the damage to their wallets.
Broadband, landline and mobile prices on the up
BT has started contacting customers to inform them that prices will go up on broadband, landline and mobile phone packages from 31 March.
Prices are going up by 1.3% ‒ January’s figure for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) ‒ for broadband, landline and mobile customers who took out a new deal between 11 January 2019 and 16 January 2020.
As a result, the overall size of your own price rise will vary based on what BT packages you have.
For example, if you have the Superfast Fibre 2 package and pay the standard price of £39.99 a month, your bill will rise by £6.23 a year.
On top of this hike to monthly bills, BT is also raising the price of certain extra charges paid by landline customers. These will apply to all BT landline customers, irrespective of when they took out their latest deal.
For example, calls to mobiles will increase to up to 18.23p per minute, while calls to landlines will rise to up to 15.19p per minute, depending on what package you’re on.
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 £9.99 a month is a pretty hefty cost.
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 BT's 1571 Voicemail service, which costs £3.50 a month, or Call Barring, which can cost up to £12.75 a month.
Can you ditch BT fee-free?
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.
*This article contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission on any sales of products or services we write about. This article was written completely independently.
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