Why do people stick with their poor, expensive ISP & cable TV providers when there are usually better deals to be had? When we looked at why people don’t migrate their broadband to fibre, despite it being faster, more reliable and cheaper it was the perceived inconvenience that held people back. Despite 94% of people having fibre broadband available, fewer than half to British internet consumers have taken up the option, and one of the main barriers to uptake was the thought that it would be a huge inconvenience to change.
Internet service providers do themselves few favours on this score. While there are ads for superfast broadband, with mesh disks which will mean that no matter where you are in the house your wifi will blow your socks off people aren’t making a bee-line to become new customers.
There is more than just the perceived hassle of migrating. When we sign up to a contract it usually comes with a year, 18 month, or two year minimum contract. Breaking the contract will mean having to pay off a fee, get a new landline, cancel a bunch of stuff, sign up to a new bunch of stuff, replace cookies and saved sign-ins, and lose all your old saved shows. All that fuss to save a few pounds a month doesn’t seem worth it, does it?
Brand Loyalty Isn’t Rewarded
40% of people in the UK who use broadband have been with the same provider for ten years or more. Maybe they found the perfect package a decade ago and have had no need to change, but I don’t think so. Most ISPs and TV providers offer a great introductory deal which lasts a few months, or a year, but once it’s expired you’ll generally find yourself on a not too competitive tariff and few incentives to stay.
Or you’ll find a good offer which offers you unlimited data for £20. Sign up for a minimum 2 year contract but when you read the small print you’ll find that they reserve the right to increase the price when they like, so you may find that it’s not long before you’re paying the highest bills in the market instead of the lowest. (The law allows you to cancel if your mid-contract price increases are unreasonable, but who’s to decide what ‘unreasonable’ is, and stopping the calls which are bound to follow is going to be a nightmare!)
As ISP are offering more TV and phone deals, TV distributors data and phone companies data & TV, people on old deals are going to miss out on the new products and services which are becoming marketplace standards, paying several providers for a range of services which they could have in a single bundle. Providers may decide to incorporate additional services into the contracts you’ve subscribed to, but if you’re the type who sets up a direct debit and forgets about it you could very easily have two or three complete media packages on the go all at the same time!
Check Your Contracts Regularly
It makes sense to shop around, if for idle curiosity if nothing else. You may well have the very best package available, but how will you know if you haven’t seen what else is on offer?
Depending on the type of contract you’re tied into, if you’ve had it for 18 months there’s a good chance that it’s not as good as other newer introductory offers. Most contracts will simply switch from a fixed term to a rolling contract once the initial binding period is over, and you can get out of them by simply calling and cancelling. From personal experience, if they tell you it’s a rolling pre-paid agreement and to cancel it all you have to do is stop paying, it’s not and they’re selling you the option to cancel. Selling cancellation means the salesperson hits their sales for the month by making you believe you can try it for a couple of weeks or a month and then cancel it. It’s usually much harder to get out of that this and you’ll be pestered with calls demanding you settle up the cancellation costs which you weren’t previously aware of. Also, always read the small print!
Once you’ve made your mind up to switch contracts, consult impartial consumer advisory publications and websites such as Which? U Switch, Money Supermarket and Money Saving Expert to see which providers are offering the best deals, who could tailor a deal to suit your needs, how to bag a bargain and keep payments lower for longer.
Often deals are only available to new customers, but there are ways around this, some not as obvious as you might think. If you discover that the company you’re already with is offering an amazing introductory deal which you’re excluded from, and you have an adult child still living with you, put the bill in their name. You get the better deal and your young ‘un gets to have an ongoing contract in their name which works wonders for their credit rating too.
What To Look For When Switching Broadband Suppliers
*Compare prices, speed, reliability, money off offers and whether the broadband is unlimited.
* Check the contract you already have. If you’ve passed the minimum term you can switch whenever you like. If your provider has made an unscheduled increase in subscription fees in the past 30 day then you should be able to cancel your contract, similarly if you’re not receiving the data speeds you signed up for in your contract or as advertised. If you have frequent outages that affect you, again, talk to your supplier about moving to another provider who may be able to do better.
*Think about what speed you need. If you have a family who love to watch movies, download music, and play online games your data needs are going to be far greater than someone who is only checking the news and reading email after work.
*If you are that single low data user, see if you can find a limited broadband package. These usually cost far less than unlimited data packages which are designed for users who gobble up data.
*Go for a complete media package of data, phone and television. There are plenty of deal around, it’s much cheaper than opening a number of accounts and going through a single provider means that you only have one bill to pay instead of juggling bills.
* Sort the deals out according to your budget. Start by searching for the cheapest first and then work your way up to the packages which fulfil your essential need. You can always add on extras such as sports channels or movies later.
*Finally, consider what you might lose by switching. You might have hours of unwatched episodes of Love Island saved which you probably won’t ever get around to watching anyway. However, if your data provider is also providing your email you will need to make plans if you’re moving to another provider and you can’t take your email address & inbox with you. Some providers allow migration to a competitor, some don’t, some do, but only if you pay a fee. If you can’t keep the address or easily forward mail from the old address to a new one, consider creating a new, free, independent email account and updating all of your contacts. And remember to save EVERYTHING before you change anything!