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Firsthelpline's Broadband ISP Guide

Posted: 22nd Jan, 2007 By: MarkJ
Commercial broadband comparison website firsthelpline.com has today urged customers to "look below the surface of ‘free’ broadband offers to avoid ‘getting bundled’". To do this the site has offered a simple guide:

Customers need to look below the surface of ‘free’ broadband offers to avoid ‘getting bundled’, according to firsthelpline.com. The independent switching service is encouraging customers not to be swayed by the marketing surrounding bundled broadband deals. The market has seen a recent flood of bundled deals from the likes of Talk Talk, Orange, and most recently Sky. All this activity adds to consumers feeling increasingly confused about broadband deals.

Research has found that consumers are finding it increasingly difficult to find the best deal. Ofcom, the market regulator, announced as far back as November that up to a third of consumers found it difficult to compare providers. firsthelpline.com’s own customer feedback has found that consumers are struggling to decode bundling advertising and sales jargon before they can compare the facts.

In order to help consumers find the best broadband deal, firsthelpline.com recommends the following when researching service provider options:

Ask yourself
  • Do you really need all the bundled services? Bundled deals are a great option if you are already using one service from the provider, such as digital television, and genuinely need the additional services included in the bundled offering. Otherwise, you may be paying for a service you will never use

  • Read the fine print – ‘Free’ doesn’t always mean what it says on the tin. Signing up for a broadband deal will still require you to pay a line rental fee, plus the cost of any additional service, so be sure to factor in these costs

  • Long-term contracts – Many bundled deals require 12 – 18 month contracts. Again, the savings can be significant but just be cautious before devoting yourself to a single provider for lengthy periods

  • Customer service – Customer service can be an issue with providers who offer bundled deals, as although the products appear to be unified, customer service may not be. Be careful when choosing a service that isn’t the company’s core business

  • Have you considered all your options? There are loads of cheap deals out there, but navigating the way between them can be confusing. The easiest way to make an educated decision on a provider is by using a price comparison and switching service
“Bundling has real advantages, for example great value and the convenience of a single bill,” said Aamir Baloch, director at firsthelpline.com. “However, consumers must carefully examine their options to find the best deal for their broadband needs. Independent comparison sites can help consumers do this.”

“Consumers are being bombarded with flashy advertising for bundled deals”, continued Baloch. “Providers need to stop skimming over the facts, and give customers the transparency they need to make their own mind up about the best deal for them.”

There are great deals to be had, but they need to be compared on the facts rather than on soundbites and advertising slogans.

Firshelpline.com is another one of those comparison websites that only appears to list a tiny number of ISP’s, mostly the larger ones that pay a commission for the “privilege”. The advice itself is fair, if still somewhat limited.
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