Home Lifestyle Money expert reveals how to avoid the mobile and broadband bill hike

Money expert reveals how to avoid the mobile and broadband bill hike

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While many of us face steep rises of nearly nine per cent this month, there are exceptions for certain customers to look out for now (Credits: Getty Images)

It’s that time of the year when many of our bills go up, and among the highest increases will be for mobile phone and broadband.

Many providers will hike bills by a set amount in early April plus a rate of inflation (usually December’s CPI 
or January’s RPI rates). It means that this year you could be seeing as much as 8.8 per cent more added in the coming weeks.

Sadly, if you’re still in contract there’s very little you can do as this is baked into most agreements when you first sign up or renew. It means if you want to leave you’ll have to pay hefty exit fees. So the only realistic option is to make a note of when your contract ends and take action then.

There are a couple of exceptions. Sky broadband and landline customers (but not TV) have the right to jump ship penalty-free, while you might be lucky and be signed up to a handful of smaller mobile networks that aren’t passing on the increases.

There’s also the right to exit without charge if your broadband speeds aren’t what you were initially promised. You’ll have to give the firm 30 days to fix it, and if they can’t you’re allowed to leave for a different – and hopefully cheaper – provider.

For those whose initial contract has ended and who are now on a rolling one, you’ll certainly be hit with higher prices where they’re happening – and it’s probably already more expensive than when you first signed on with introductory offers.

If you’re not tied into your contract, you don’t have to accept it (Credits: Getty Images)

But you don’t have to accept this. Since you aren’t tied in, you have all the power. First, take a look at a comparison site to see what you can get elsewhere.

To bring mobile prices down further, check your mobile app to see how much data you use. You’ve probably got way more than you need. Going SIM-only, which entails keeping your existing handset rather than upgrading, can also help you find cheaper tariffs.

It’s worth looking at smaller-name networks, which offer the same signals as the big guys – and you can take your number with you.

Don’t forget, cheapest isn’t always the best. There could be extra savings built into some prices, for instance those that allow you to roam in Europe without charge or throw in free streaming services (assuming you were going to pay for those anyway). For broadband, work out if your speeds are too fast for your needs, though watch out for anyone who throttles speeds at certain times of the day. If you’re on a low income 
and receive certain benefits you 
might also qualify for a cheaper 
social tariff.

I’d be careful of bundling together different utilities, as you’ll be locked into a new contract on each one, which reduces your flexibility if 
you want to change things later. 
But if there’s a big saving through signing up via a single provider, it’s worth considering.

With mobile and broadband, there may be deals you can stack on top, too. Cashback sites such as Quidco and TopCashback offer extra money back.

Once you’ve done your research speak to your provider and haggle for the best deal (Credits: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Then, once armed with this information, you can get in touch with your existing providers and haggle.

You’re unlikely to get the best offer from the first person you talk to, so push it further by saying you plan 
to leave and ask for your PAC (for mobile) or the disconnection team (for broadband). These routes should show you’re serious.

Don’t worry, you can stop these cancellations if you choose to stay.

Hopefully you’ll be given a deal that beats or matches what you found elsewhere, though it can be hard for them to also factor in cashback site savings. And even if it’s a little more each month than alternatives you found, you might be happy to take that to avoid the minor inconvenience of switching.

A final yet important tip: I’d wait to actually make the switch or sign a new contract until after the price hikes take place – otherwise you could see your new cheaper deal also go up.

Follow award-winning blogger and podcaster Andy on Instagram and YouTube or visit becleverwithyourcash.com.


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