Here in the UK, we’re not used to haggling. We expect that the price we see is final.
However, the evidence suggests that if you’re willing to argue a little with your broadband provider, you could access some fantastic benefits.
According to studies, more than 80% of the people who haggle with service providers are successful in getting a better deal. Customers in a Which? survey saved £96 each year just by haggling with their provider.
The benefits of haggling for broadband
Sticking to the same provider and paying your bills without question might mean that you’re spending more than you should be. That’s because today’s broadband companies reserve the best deals for new customers who they want to lure away from other vendors.
Ofcom has found that staying in the same contract with your provider for too long could mean you’re losing out on savings; customers who are out of contract end up paying £4.70 more per month on average.
The great thing about haggling for a better deal is that you don’t need to go through the hassle of switching providers to save money. You can stay with the company that you trust and reduce your bills at the same time.
Why you might not want to haggle
The most common reason people avoid asking for better deals these days is that the process just feels too tricky. Around 24% of respondents in a Which? study said that haggling to save cash is “too much hassle”. If this is the case for you, then you might prefer simply switching to a new provider.
Most broadband providers will handle the switch on your behalf these days, with virtually no disruption to your service. It’s also worth remembering that although you can get a better deal with haggling, some of the best offers will still be reserved for new customers.
You might also be unhappy with the provider. If you've found that some aspect of the service - be it speed, reliability, customer service, or anything else - hasn't met your expectations, then it might not be worth sticking around even if you could save some money. The UK's broadband market is competitive and there are plenty of alternatives, so putting up with subpar service purely due to the price is rarely necessary.
Switching to a new provider rather than haggling with your existing one will help you to access all of the available deals on the market while opening the door to things like faster connections, better customer service, and free gifts.
How to haggle for a better broadband deal
If you decide to stick with your current provider, but not your current prices, here’s a step-by-step guide to successful haggling.
1. Do your research
Preparation is key to getting an amazing deal on any service. Start by finding out what kind of prices and deals you can get from other broadband providers in your area. Keep a record of the price and other details so you can quickly compare it against any offer made by your current provider.
Use a postcode checker to see all your available options, or enter your postcode below:
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You'll also want to check the status of your current broadband service at this stage. If you are out of contract then you will be free to switch providers without penalty, but if you're currently in contract then switching will usually mean paying a fee.
However, there are some situations where you can cancel for free. For example, if the broadband has increased in price in the middle of the contract then you may be in a position to bargain for a better deal or to leave without paying a penalty.
2. Build your case
Look at how long you’ve been with the same provider. Have you had a lot of issues with your broadband connection during this time? This could be something worth mentioning when you’re trying to get a good deal. Note if you’re getting multiple services (such as TV and broadband) from the same provider too – as this makes you a higher-value customer.
3. Contact your provider
With your research and the details of your current service ready, call your provider and ask them for your discount. Tell them that you’ve already seen more competitive offers online and ask them if they can match or beat those prices. If they say that they can’t drop to the same level, ask them what they’re willing to do to ensure that you stay with them, instead of switching elsewhere. Be polite, but persistent.
4. Talk to the retention team
Not happy with their offer? If you state an intention to leave your broadband provider while on the phone, they’ll often send you to the retention team. But you can use this to your advantage; the retention teams can provide a wider range of discounts and deals than the standard customer service agent. You might be able to wrangle a better deal out of the retention team as they attempt to convince you to stay.
5. Consider your options
Don't feel pressured to make a decision right away. Note down the details of your provider's counter-offer and go away and compare it to the alternatives.
But if you can’t get the price that’s right for you, be willing to cut ties and go elsewhere; here are just a few of the best broadband offers currently available: