Martin Lewis on how to haggle at BT, Sky, Virgin, O2 and more ahead of April 1 rises
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Martin Lewis on how to haggle at BT, Sky, Virgin, O2 and more ahead of April 1 rises

14/05/2022  |   69 Views

Millions of people will see their monthly outgoings rocket from next month, as price hike season comes into force - affecting energy bills, council tax, broadband, phone and even rent for some households.

The annual utility price surge is linked to inflation - the cost of living - and most firms are allowed to hike prices by this amount once a year - often in April.

Next month, Three Mobile and Vodafone customers will see their bills rise 4.5%.

BT and EE customers will also see their bills jump on March 31, while one million Sky subscribers could see an extra £72 a year slapped onto their direct debit payments.

But consumer expert Martin Lewis says customers do not have to stand for it

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, the money expert reminded listeners: "Price hikes are coming at the end of this month.

"Vodafone, EE, Three, BT, Sky, TalkTalk Virgin, EE and O2 are all raising prices. If you've got one of those contracts it's time to start haggling.

"Yes, many customers will not be able to switch because they're locked into a contract - and the price rise is written in the small print - but millions who are rolling deals can take advantage and save some money,

"If you've received a letter from your provider on a rise that's not in the small print, you have 30-days from the day you receive the letter to cancel your contract - again, this is your opportunity to score a lower deal.

Martin Lewis on how to haggle at BT, Sky, Virgin, O2 and more ahead of April 1 rises

"I’m talking all about call centre haggling – the powerhouse of haggling in the UK."

Speaking to radio host Nihal Arthanayake, Lewis said most major firms factor haggling into their advertised prices, so "if you're not taking advantage, you're almost ripping yourself off."

He told listeners it's especially beneficial to those who are 'loyal' to their provider.

"Most of these customers will be signing up for the same service each year - and despite being loyal, their prices are slowly creeping up.

"But, ask to speak to their customer retentions team. These departments have budgets to retain customers and win over new ones, so it's your chance to haggle a cheaper deal – like the ones reserved for new customers."

How to haggle

Lewis said before picking up the phone, households should 'audit' their price plans.

"If you're after a cheaper TV deal, for instance, consider what channels you could easily drop.

"Once you know what you want, enter your details into a few comparison websites to get a benchmark of what is available elsewhere.

"Once you've found a deal you can afford, call up your provider and explain that you'd like to stay, but have found a cheaper deal elsewhere.

"If they're unable to help, politely ask to speak to customer retentions.

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"Explain that you're going to have to leave and hopefully then they will give you a decent deal to stay."

On mobile phone deals, he has one extra tip.

"There are only four mobile network providers in the UK - all other firms are simply piggybacking off them.

"So if you find a good deal that your network won't match, find out what other firms are using their signal and see if you can negotiate a saving through one of them instead."

Martin's top 10 call centres to haggle on

Lewis said the following firms offered the highest success rates when polled by MoneySavingExpert last year.

  1. Three – 75%

  2. Talktalk 77%

  3. Virgin – 77%

  4. BT – 78%

  5. Sky Mobile – 78%

  6. Hastings Direct – 80%

  7. Admiral – 81%

  8. AA – 82%

  9. RAC – 83%

  10. SKY TV, phone and broadband – 86%

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