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Stealth Price Rise – Sneaky TalkTalk Scraps Speedy Payment Discount

Saturday, October 10th, 2015 (7:44 am) - Score 1,271

It’s become increasingly difficult this year to describe TalkTalk as a “low cost” broadband provider, what with so many sharp price rises stealing our headlines. But now customers are about to lose yet another benefit with the ISP quietly moving to scrap their 10% Speedy Payment Discount.

The Speedy Payment Discount can be applied to most of TalkTalk’s services, although it’s not available on their Mobile bills and doesn’t apply to their pre-paid Value Line Rental because that is paid separately. The discount actually use to be worth 15%, but it was already reduced once at the end of last year (here).

In fairness the discount system hasn’t always worked that well, with some customers failing to even notice the relevant offer and email delivery delays sometimes making it difficult to claim, although the ISPs customer support teams were sometimes willing to rectify this.

Never the less TalkTalk has quietly decided to scrap the 10% reduction from 1st December 2015. The date might be familiar because that’s when some of their latest price increases are due to be introduced, which were first announced in August (here). Mind you a quick look at the relevant page on TalkTalk’s website shows that the ISP neglected to mention the loss of their Speedy Payment Discount (here).

The move is also controversial because TalkTalk has already radically increased its entry-level SimplyBroadband package prices over the past couple of years. The service started life in 2013 at a cost of just £2.50 per month, which came after they removed their free calls bundle from the package, but since then the price has reached a new high of £7.50. Meanwhile line rental has also continued its inflation busting rises.

Mind you TalkTalk are not alone in this, with most of the major ISPs all hiking both their standard broadband + phone prices this year and often going well beyond what we’ve seen in prior years. The situation is such that this week even Ofcom expressed concern (here).

Sharon White, Ofcom’s CEO, said:

There are signs in recent months of rising prices for landline and broadband customers, without the apparent justification of higher costs or improved service. BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media have all raised line rental prices this year.

This might be a temporary blip in the market, and there are still good offers out there for people who shop around. But customers who worry about the hassle of leaving their current provider, especially older people, can face higher bills. We are concerned about this, and we are watching these developments in the market closely.”

No doubt Ofcom’s claim to be “watching” these developments will have the big providers quaking in their boots (that’s sarcasm by the way). On the other hand there are those who may rightly argue that the price of broadband in the UK has been too low and needs to rise in order to fuel investment in future upgrades, such as TalkTalk’s joint deployment of ultrafast 1Gbps FTTH broadband in the city of York.

As a budget ISP TalkTalk doesn’t bring in a huge profit and so re-adjusting their prices to change that balance is one way to help build reserves and boost investment, but the downside is that their customers will also be expecting service and support quality to improve. Otherwise you’re just treating customers like a squeezable money bag and lest we not forget that TalkTalk appeals more to those with lower incomes.

Leave a Comment
9 Responses
  1. Avatar Colin says:

    Even though talktalk top line prices have increased. I find a couple months before my contracts up for renewal. TalkTalk loyalty team always seems to comes up with real good discount prices to keep me with them. Some of the offers are not actually publicised.

    So my advice, if they want to keep with talktalk or any other provider including sky TV. Phone them up and see what they can do for you. plus remember do not always except the first offer. (Remember you got the power to reduce the prices by switching or threatening to switch. I mean you don’t stay shopping at one supermarket if the another one is reducing their prices or is better quality.

    Utility are now a market use them as such!

  2. Avatar PeterM says:

    I guess that these stealth price rises are to offset the cost of offering promotional broadband packages.
    It is getting close to the time when OFCOM should step in and tell ISP’S to offer contracts with a fixed price for the whole length of the contact period.

  3. Avatar Al says:

    And whilst Ofcom are at they can step in and tell them they have to offer the same price to all, regardless if it’s a Market A or B exchange. As Market A exchanges suffer from a lack of competition and rarely have the option of taking up a promotional price offer from providers other than BT.

    1. Avatar Steve Jones says:

      The LLU ISPs simply wouldn’t offer services in market A exchanges.

    2. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      It’s not always quite that simple Steve. Market A and B are classifications based on local competition and related regulation, which are changeable (e.g. TalkTalk’s LLU expanding from 90% to 95%+ UK coverage etc.). Ofcom of course only reviews this stuff every few years, so it doesn’t adjust dynamically.

  4. Avatar Martin says:

    Typical, after renewing my contract for 18 months a week ago, I’m going to be paying 10% more than I would anyway!

    At least I have half price broadband until September 2016 which eases the pain a bit.

  5. Avatar Groucho says:

    This is exactly why we have just left Talk Talk, using the 30 day rule, plus the fact they harassed my wife into a mobile setup she did not really want, and cancelled that as well. We cancelled with TT in twenty minutes and one phone call. Trying to cancel with Vodafone, or even to achieve ANYTHING to do with an account is impossible.Try searching ‘customer service’. They are a disaster, but where is OFCOM in a case like this?

  6. Avatar Groucho says:

    Further to the Talk Talk mobile deal my wife was bamboozled in to, she cancelled that seperately in writing, sent the sim card back without activating it, but we now seem to be in the dreaded Vodafone situation with Talk Talk, after I sang their praises…….

  7. Avatar DEspicable says:

    Sneaky is the word for it alright, remember back to the wording used by talktalk in their email advising of the latest price hikes …’ At TalkTalk, we think simpler is better. It’s why our broadband is 100% unlimited with no caps or sneaky charges, why we have easy-to-understand packages and why we don’t use technical-jargon to confuse you. And we know you’d rather be told something, straight. ‘
    Notification of the withdrawal of the speedy payment discount came through on the email they sent advising you of your bill being available just after the period to end your contract without penalty because of those price rises.
    Someone from talktalk tell us please that was a complete co-incidence and not a planned holding back the disclosure of known information so this factor did not influence the customer’s decision to leave when they could.
    It was also noticeable that the speedy payment discount was also advertised as being a positive benefit after emails had been issued saying about it’s withdrawal.

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