I’ve recently gone through the rigmarole of renewing my Broadband contract, and much like your electricity or gas services, it pays to shop around.
I’ve been with the same business broadband and phone supplier for over 10 years, and although they don’t reward customer loyalty as such, they will if you can twist their arm behind their back. And the best way to do this is phone round other providers, get the best deal you can, and leave!
Gather your Ammunition
My recent phone marathon started with a bit of internet training, to gather the prices offered, convert them in to yearly costs, and make a big list of ammunition. You can use comparison sites to help with this stage. Then phone round the top 3 suppliers to confirm your arithmetic holds up from web to sales team, and challenge their prices against their competitors.
Taking the Next Step. Cancellations.
Once you have settled on your new supplier, you can call your current one and get through to cancellations. You’ll notice the lightening speed and efficiency with which the cancellation team operate compared to support. No lengthy queues or overseas call centres in cancellations. This is a streamlined group of fast talkers and deal brokers!
This is where the fun begins. It’s like playing poker. Show no emotion. You have to be ruthless and calculating. You can play your best had first or ease them in to a false sense of security with not quite so good price plans and crank it up. Make your self a cup of tea and leave plenty of awkward silences to increase the tension.
Here’s the crunch if you want a good deal.
If they don’t give you a better deal than a competitor – just leave!
Put down the phone and call the best deal at the table. Go ahead with sign up, sit back and wait.
During the next 5 days the wheels are set in motion and someone in an office flags up your account when they notice you are leaving and passes you on to their top cancellations expert, who will then call you back.
This is where all of your hard work and perseverance will pay off. Your new friend will have authorisation to keep you at all costs – well nearly all, and will bend over backwards to do so.
It’s worth mentioning at this stage that OFCOM give you a 14 day cooling off period, so you are completely within your rights to change your mind if a better deal hits the table, and change your mind again and so on. Not only are you within your rights, but are considered a light touch by the companies if you do not!
So, I thought Company Loyalty still meant something?
Eh no… not any more I’m afraid. These services companies absolutely love ‘loyal’ customers who never change or look at their deals, and just run out of contract and keep paying increasing bills in to infinity and beyond. It really is a sad indictment on our society that loyalty means nothing. In fact its worse than that. They laugh at you!
So don’t for one minute think you are doing them a favour by not shopping round for a better deal. Look after yourself, because they unfortunately, will not.
My Numbers, for what it’s worth.
I started paying around £25 a month for unlimited land line calls and Unlimited Broadband (including line rental). Over the course of the last 2 months or so that crept up to £36. When challenged they said I was out of contract, that my old contract was no longer in use and they put me on a ‘better’ tariff to include unlimited mobile calls – without asking. That’s £432 over a year as opposed to £300!
TOP 3 and back to Square 1
I asked for the same things: unlimited broadband and calls to landlines. Due to the complexity of the various deals i.e. free for 6 months then £xx a month thereafter etc I’ve costed everything to yearly payments – The bottom line.
BT Unlimited calls + Unlimited Broadband £357 (paying line rental upfront) (12 months)
PLUS.NET Unlimited calls + Unlimited Broadband £347 (paying line rental upfront) but had a £50 cashback offer to take it to £297
John Lewis Broadband Unlimited calls + Unlimited Broadband £354
So I went with Plus.net who were excellent on the phone and the cheapest.
One Bill Telecom came back with the following counter offer (only once the cancellation had gone through) Unlimited calls + Unlimited Broadband £259 plus they chucked in unlimited calls to mobile phones! Needless to say I’m very happy with the outcome and because I run 2 lines I’m now saving £346 a year!
All prices include VAT and current speeds in my area are up to 8mps
I was initially sparked in to life after I was in a Vodafone store to sort out my mobile phone, and they offered me a deal on their new broadband service.
They could give me Unlimited calls and Broadband with a router worth £150 for £203.88 per year with speeds up to 17mbps! That’s £50 cheaper for double the speed! The only problem was our telephone exchange was not available for the offer.
Living in the Country
The real bitter pill with the broadband infrastructure in this country, is that there is no competition. BT Openreach are the only supplier contracted by the government to proved better connectivity to the rurals. (Article 1 – Article 2 – Article 3 – Article 4 – Article 5 – if you have the time or inclination). They’ve got it easy, and they’re got the funding!
Every telephone exchange is priced to see how affordable or rather how lucrative upgrading it will prove. It’s all about numbers and money. Stirlingshire fell below the criteria because it had below 45,000 homes and businesses, where Aberdeen, Dundee and Perth passed. Even in Stromness, my folks can get high speed broadband (up to 34mbps) thanks to undersea cables from the mainland to Orkney (pop 20k) and Shetland (pop 22k), but in Stenness or Dounby I’m sure they’re similar to Gartmore or Croftamie.
It’s Just Not Fair!
The question I keep being asked is, why if we’re only getting 0.1mbps download speed in Port of Menteith for instance, are we paying MORE than someone getting 17mbps in Glasgow?
Remember being told that by 2015 every community in the UK will have superfast broadband?
Where has the £1 billion pounds of investment gone? That’s £1080 million invested to get fast and reliable broadband and cut red tape?
We’re all in this together? I don’t think so!