IF you’ve been with your broadband provider for over a year, chances are that you’re massively overpaying on your bills.
The latest figures show suppliers are hitting loyal customers who stay past their introductory contract with hikes of up to £192.
That doesn’t mean that you have to change provider if you’re happy with the service, but it does mean that you need to negotiate a new deal.
Otherwise, your payments could rise by a whopping 60 per cent – research from Which? found.
The consumer group looked at 12 of the biggest broadband providers analysing entry-level fibre broadband and phone deals.
It found that Virgin were the worst culprits, with customers of the M50 Virgin Media tariffs facing hikes of up to £192.
The Post Office’s entry-level fibre broadband package for new customers starts at £24 a month but for those who choose to stay past the minimum term the monthly cost rises by 54 per cent to £37 a month.
Over a year, that means customers would end up paying £156 more than they need to.
In third place was John Lewis where the price of Fibre increases by 38 per cent once the 12 month period is over, from £27.50 to £38 or £126 a year.
Only two of the suppliers investigated by Which? kept their prices the same for existing customers – Utility and Zen.
If you get your internet from either of these companies you’re safe in the knowledge that there’s no hike at all after the introductory offer.
Vodafone has one of the smallest increases.
It’s Superfast 1 deal face customers a rise from £24 a month for the first 18 months to £27 a month.
That’s a a far less noticeable £36 over 12 months for customers who do not seek to switch or haggle.
How to make sure you're not being penalised for being loyal
THE best way to beat the loyalty premium is to check if you can switch and save.
These are some of the best websites to use to find a better deal on your provider. Remember though, if you are thinking about switching before your term is up then you could face an early exit fee.
- Broadband –Broadbandchoices.co.uk
- Home insurance – MoneySuperMarket.com
- Mobiles – BillMonitor
- Mortgages – MoneySavingExpert.com or use a free broker such as London & Country to help you find the best deal
- Savings accounts – Savings Champion
Natalie Hitchins, Which? Head of home products and services, said: “These findings continue to show it is imperative that broadband customers who are out of contract either contact their supplier to secure a good deal or shop around and look to switch elsewhere.”
From next February, new rules mean that providers have to warn you when you get to the end of your contract – but until then, it’s easy to lose track.
Even when the new rules come into force, suppliers will only show you their own deals, which means you could miss out on a bargain.
Make sure that when your contract comes to an end you shop around thoroughly to find the best deal – it could save you hundreds of pounds.
Hitchins continued: “While there is nothing wrong with staying with your supplier if you are happy with your service, it is worth noting that without doing anything at the end of the minimum term you could end up paying over the odds. You might save yourself a lot of money by haggling.”
Haggle for a better deal
IF you want to stick with your existing provider, try haggling for a better deal.
Which? found that customers who haggled managed to knock the following off their bills:
- BT customers saved £210 (29 per cent) a year on average
- Sky customers saved £120 a year (21 per cent) a year on average
- Virgin Media customers saved £180 (19 per cent) a year on average
More on bills
Households could be owed £886 back from their energy, water and broadband and phone supplier after new research reveals people have been wrongly billed.
Superfast broadband is due to be spread to most remote areas in £200m project
And apparently you can save £270 a year on your energy bills by painting your walls olive green, scientist claims.
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