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Survey Warns Loyalty to UK Broadband and Phone Providers is Costly

Thursday, December 14th, 2017 (1:57 pm) - Score 634
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A new survey of 2,000 UK people, which was conducted by consumer magazine Which?, has warned that those who stay loyal to a particular phone, broadband ISP, mobile, energy or TV provider are being “ripped off” by up to £725 a year because they don’t benefit from the same savings as new users.

The £725 figure mentioned above appears to be across all services and is based on the median savings of 1,169 people in their survey who haggled in the past 12 months. The savings after haggling break down to £316 for energy providers, £216 for broadband and TV or £120 for standalone broadband, £72 for mobile, £50 for car insurance, £40 for home insurance and £35 for car breakdown cover.

Overall Which? found that 42% of respondents had not haggled with any service provider over the past 12 months, which is despite the fact that 86% of broadband and pay TV customers who asked for a better deal were offered a discount or incentive (77% for Mobile).

Alex Neill, MD of Which? Home and Product Services, said:

“People who stay with the same energy, telecoms or insurance company year after year rarely get the best deal.

Customers paying the price for loyalty should ask their providers to reward them, or be prepared to lose them.”

We should point out that not all service providers are the same. Some adopt fairly standard pricing and avoid discounts, which means that haggling won’t get you very far because both new and existing customers will already be paying the same price. However most consumers tend to use larger providers, were first year style discounting is much more common and this can result in a wide cost difference between new and old subscribers.

Similarly the pursuit of the cheapest deal on a linear service like Gas, Electricity or Water is rather different to paying less for broadband, where the cheapest providers often tend to fair worse in ratings of service and support quality. In that sense a race to the bottom on broadband price is something that requires more consideration, lest your pursuit of a cheaper service results in the adoption of steaming poop.

However we do agree with Which? that there’s really no harm in haggling and it doesn’t have to be stressful. After all, what do you have to lose? The worse that could happen is that your provider refuses to offer a discount and at least then you have some certainty about their position and that may help your future decision about whether or not to switch.

We wrote a useful guide on all this earlier in 2017 (Retentions – Tips for Cutting Your Broadband Bill Without Switching ISP).

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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9 Responses
  1. TomTom

    And it too much hassle to switch over. Sometimes it cause problem.

  2. wirelesspacman

    One could argue that the issue here is as much bad regulation as anything else. It is a fact of life that most customers either do not like negotiating, or just do not feel that they should be forced to do so (and/or have better things to do with their lives). Nothing that Which, or any of the other such sites/organisations, do will ever change that. Big ISPs etc exploit this human condition for all that its worth by having silly sign-up deals coupled with long term contracts (where the price automatically shoots up, often by a huge amount, once the initial period is over).

    A much better solution in my view would be to simply ban long term contracts – at least for consumers and micro businesses. Suppliers would then have to concentrate much more on customer service to keep their customer base rather than contract lock-in.

  3. kekkle

    It’s very straightforward to swap between providers when they inevitable put their prices up mid-contract – tie this in with great cashback deals from quidco or whoever and you can end up paying less than £20 per month all in for Infinity 2 or whatever it’s called these days. This time around however BT have actually negotiated a deal with us rather than letting us leave like usual – which means that despite them putting their price up 3 months into the contract the price is now even cheaper than what we were paying.

    It’s all the people that choose not to switch/negotiate that are allowing those (me) who spend 10 minutes giving them a call to get service very cheaply!

    • h42422

      It is straightforward, but definitely time-consuming.

      Comparing and changing gas, electricity, mobile phones, ISP, home insurance, car insurance, health insurance, mortgage, buy to let -mortgage and probably some others I have forgotten takes a lot of time. Changing ISP is very straightforward and it is probably the simplest after gas/electricity, where I only have to sign up and provide meter readings.

      It is worth a lot of money, especially in insurance, but the whole culture of changing everything every year seems a bit silly to me. The amount of unnecessary work done by tens of millions of people every year combined with rip-off prices for those who do not bother, account a huge amount of waste.

    • Paul B

      I think those of us who haggle and constantly swap providers are very much in the minority (as the survey infers). I like to change ISPs to get a good deal, but often have to sort out small niggles when moving, like making sure my final bills are correct.

      My parents, on the other hand, despite my attempts to get them a better deal by switching, see it as a large hassle. The fact that they’re penalised for this, by paying over the odds for their service, isn’t good.

      I’m inclined to agree with wirelesspacman – maybe if the big providers were forced to invest in better customer service and fault-finding, rather than roping us in with cheap long-term contracts, we’d all be better off for it 😉

  4. Kits

    If you are with those who raise costs at end of contract possibly but if you have one that doesn’t raise prices you can be on a winner.

    Have to say next year 10 years with my supplier and I pay less than many using BT. £13 per month line rental for a start.

  5. Mike

    This pressumes the quality of the product stays the same from provider to provider like with other utilities, which it does not.

  6. I think they should have to make phone and internet access affordable so that people can use it effectively and it helps to grow the economy of country.

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