As the cost of living soars and monthly bills with some providers are set to rise, our latest research shows that customers who haggle with their broadband, TV or mobile provider can save nearly £130 a year – and savings could top £200 for those willing to switch away.
It’s now compulsory for telecoms providers to share end-of-contract notifications (ECNs) so you won’t forget that your deal is coming to an end. When you receive yours, you’ll ultimately need to decide between two options: is it worth taking a punt with someone new or should you stick with the provider you’re with?
We asked more than 5,000 customers who had their contract end on either their mobile, broadband or broadband and TV package whether they had switched or haggled – and found there are compelling potential savings on offer.
Not happy? Switch provider
If you’re in any way unhappy with the broadband or mobile service you’re getting, switching provider is the obvious option.
One in five people told us they’d switched to a different provider, with the vast majority doing so because they felt they had been paying too much.
But if your service has been substandard for any reason – poor customer service, sluggish connections, or patchy mobile coverage in your home – then it’s worth weighing up a move.
Average savings made by those who switched telecoms providers
- Mobile network – £40 per year
- Broadband – £35 a year
- Broadband and TV – £65 per year
However, we found that customers who switched away from a large provider saved even more.
Big savings if you’re with a ‘big four’ provider
When it came to mobile services, customers who switched away from Vodafone, Three and O2 told Which? they saved as much as £100 a year.
Broadband customers who departed Virgin Media saved over £190 a year, while those who left BT reported a saving of almost £160 a year and those who left Sky saved almost £100. TalkTalk was the only large provider where customers who switched away reported paying slightly more – though this was just £8 over the course of a year.
When it came to broadband and TV packages, we found that those who left Virgin Media reported saving over £200 a year and above-average savings were also made by those who left Sky (£180), Talk Talk (£90) and BT (£80).
How to haggle with your provider
If you’re happy with the provider you’re with, you might feel reluctant to switch away just to get a better price. Negotiating a better deal with your provider means you can stick with your current deal and pay less.
We found that nearly half of those surveyed had haggled with their existing provider when their contract ended. You’ll usually
be asked to commit to a new fixed contract when you haggle but, in most cases, hagglers end up both paying less and getting an upgraded deal.
TV and broadband customers in particular may feel reluctant to switch providers (their offerings can differ substantially) but our research shows that haggling can secure an impressive discount.
Average savings made by haggling with telecoms providers
- Broadband – £85 per year
- Broadband and TV – £128 per year
- Mobile network – £35 per year
Haggling can feel daunting, but the reality is that both broadband and mobile providers both expect and invite it. And if you don’t fancy a long phone call, many providers will allow you to do it online using live chat instead.
Get started using our guides on how to haggle on your broadband deal to discover the simple steps it takes to negotiate a better price.
Don’t do nothing when your contract ends
Our survey also found one in five people did nothing when their contract ended. These people are at greatest risk of overpaying on their broadband and mobile bills.
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.
But if you’re an out-of-contract customer, it’s time to take matters into your own hands. Switching or haggling will help you save on your bills.
Respondents in our survey were generally positive about how easy it is to switch or haggle. Just 20% of broadband customers said switching was difficult, and less than a third had trouble haggling. Across all three services, a majority agreed the process was easy, with little variation between providers.
If you’re still wary of taking the plunge, our in-depth advice can help get you started.