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23 Aug 2019

What's stopping you from haggling with your broadband provider?

Those who do are usually successful - but most of us still aren't trying it

When we asked people who haggle with their broadband provider whether they were successful, the overwhelming majority tell us they are - 87% were offered a discount or incentive after contacting their provider.

Yet most of us simply aren't giving it a try. We asked more than 1,000 broadband customers why they hadn't haggled in the past 12 months. Read on to find out the most common reasons given.

Use our overview of the best and worst broadband providers of 2019 to find one that ticks all of your boxes.

Daunted by haggling

Respondents gave several reasons that suggest they feel like the process of haggling is just too tricky, such as the 24% who said that haggling is too much hassle, the 18% who aren't confident doing it, the 9% who aren't sure how to haggle in the first place, and 6% of respondents who said it's just too difficult.

We think the concept of haggling sounds much more daunting than it actually is. It's not like randomly asking for a discount in a supermarket or high street shop - broadband providers both expect haggling and invite it.

The process is as simple as calling your provider for a chat about whether you're paying the best price. It doesn't have to take long, either. If you don't have the time to wait on the phone, check whether your provider has live chat online.

Read our guide on how to haggle for your broadband to discover the five easy steps it takes to negotiate a better price.

Switching and saving

Around one in seven respondents told us they hadn't haggled recently because they prefer to look into deals themselves. Switching regularly is another way of making sure that you're not overpaying, as broadband providers typically offer new customers lower prices during a fixed-term introductory period.

If you're outside of this introductory period you'll usually be paying a pricier standard tariff - this means you'll almost certainly be in a position to find a cheaper deal. If you're considering making a switch, use Which? Switch broadband to find the best broadband deals near you.

In a separate survey into the reasons people leave their broadband provider, we found that being offered a better deal by a new provider is the number one reason people switch.

A history of haggling

One in seven also told us that they'd haggled before but it was more than 12 months ago. This may be because they're on a longer fixed-term contract. The two most powerful times to haggle are when your fixed-term contract comes to an end or when your provider notifies you of a price rise.

When your contract ends, you become a free agent. This is good in theory, although it's often associated with a rise in your tariff. Unless you plan on switching, it's worth contacting your provider. When prices rise, providers must give you a 30-day period in which you can switch away without penalty.

Each time either of these happens, it's worth contacting your provider - they're aware that your ability to switch has become a lot easier and will value the opportunity to offer you a deal so they don't lose a customer.

Loyalty doesn't pay

The second most common reason people gave for not having haggled was that they are loyal to their broadband provider. There's nothing wrong with being loyal to a provider that offers good service - but that shouldn't hold you back from paying a reasonable price. After all, loyalty goes both ways.

Unfortunately, providers aren't always proactive at ensuring longstanding customers pay the best price. Analysis has shown that customers who stick with their provider are more likely to be paying large amounts for their deal. The telecoms regulator, Ofcom, has said that staying out of contract with the same provider leads to consumers losing out.

If you're happy with your deal, it's still worth contacting your provider to check you're paying the best price.

Think you're paying too much for your mobile phone? Read our guide to the best and worst mobile networks, and try haggling for better mobile phone deal.