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How to haggle for the best mobile phone deals

By Jon Barrow

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How to haggle for the best mobile phone deals

Many of us are reluctant to haggle. But we shouldn't be – it can often get you a better deal. Follow our top tips to save money on your mobile phone contract.

You can cut a significant chunk off the annual cost of your mobile phone contract by making one quick call.

Which? research found that all the major mobile phone companies can be swayed by customers who phone up and haggle for a better deal. 

Here, we explain how to haggle to get a discount or better terms - or both.

Best mobile phone providers - see which providers impressed in our regular customer satisfaction survey.

How to haggle for the best mobile phone deals

Mobile phone companies are more likely to offer you a better deal if they think they're about to lose your custom, so line up information about what else is available on the market before you attempt to haggle. 

By quoting these deals and making it clear that you are considering switching provider, you should be able to prompt them into offering a better contract. 

Think about the timing of your call. If you're in the middle of a fixed-term contract, you may have to pay a cancellation fee to end it early.

This can often work against you in negotiations and may make the change uneconomical. But if you're at the end of the contract, and free to switch, you're in the strongest position to demand the best deals from your existing mobile company.

Which mobile phone companies offer discounts? 

In our latest haggling research we spoke to 4,000 Which? members and asked about their haggling experiences.

We found that mobile phone customers that haggled with their provider saved an average of 34% on their annual bill.

Some providers are more open to haggling than others - as shown in our graphic below - but most customers that haggled found it easy to do.

What to say when you call your mobile phone provider

You can boost your chances of getting a discount on your mobile phone contract by using our tried and tested haggling script. 

  1. 'I'm not sure I'm getting the best deal on my mobile and I'm thinking of cancelling.' - Wait for the initial response as you may be put through to a specialist cancellation team. If you are put through, or even if you are still with the original provider, next say: 
  2. 'I think I'm paying too much. My friend has a much better deal with a better phone and more minutes - so I think I'm missing out.' - Here, it's better to flag a specific deal that you've seen offered elsewhere. Even if you are offered some incentives by the provider to stay at this point, it's worth pushing a little harder.
  3. 'Is that the best that you can give me? I was hoping for a bigger saving/more minutes/more texts/more data than that.' - Select which incentive suits you best. If you're happy with the deal offered to you, you can sign up then and there.

What you'll be offered

Your provider may offer you something other than a discount to stop you from leaving -  more than a third of people who successfully haggled over their phone contract were offered free extra data.

But, if you're determined to get a discount, hold out for one and don't be blinded by incentives. The vast majority of people we spoke to were offered a discount in the end.

Switching

We know that haggling usually works but there can be times when the deals just aren't forthcoming. If that happens then wait a few days and try again.

If you hit a brick wall then you have to be prepared to walk away. But don't worry - switching is easy and can lead to a better deal from a better provider.

Read our guide - Best mobile phone providers - to see which providers impressed in our regular customer satisfaction survey.