As a nation, Brits can be quite reserved and will often shy away from the mere thought of bartering with shop staff or striking a hard bargain.
But if you are prepared to haggle on your telecoms services, you could potentially save hundreds of pounds on your mobile tariff, and also on your combined broadband and pay-TV contract.
It’s a competitive market out there, and you may be surprised at what your existing provider will offer if you play hard-ball. All it takes is a bit of research and a few minutes on the phone to barter your way to a better deal.
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Check your payments
Once you’ve set up a mobile, broadband or pay-TV contract, with a regular direct debit going out each month, it can be easy to forget about it.
But unless you keep a close eye on the amount you are paying, you could find that your provider has hiked up the cost at renewal time.
If you’ve had a telecoms service for more than 12 months, it is well worth checking your latest bill to see how much you’re paying – and how this compares to the amount you were paying last year.
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How to haggle
Before calling your existing provider to try and renegotiate your deal, you should spend a few minutes researching what else is available from competitors. This will help you understand what a good deal is.
You should then mention these to see if your existing supplier can make you a better offer.
With hot competition for customers, many firms will be willing to cut a deal if it means you will stay.
Haggling on broadband
With providers hiking up line rental charges at least once a year, it is well worth haggling on the cost of your broadband contract. There’s a good chance you will be given some sort of price reduction or upgrade.
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Haggling on broadband and pay-TV
If you feel you are paying for a expensive pay-TV service that you don’t watch – such as Premier League football – it’s worth picking up the phone to push for a better deal.
But bear in mind that when it comes to broadband bundles, providers will always offer the best deals to new customers.
Haggling on mobile phones
There’s nothing to lose in trying to haggle for a better deal on your mobile phone, as there’s a good chance you could get offered a free handset upgrade.
Equally, you could always hold out for a discount as well – or extra minutes or a bigger data plan.
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Watch out for early exit penalties
Before rushing to haggle with your telecoms service provider, you need to be aware that you could face hefty penalties for leaving your deal early. With this in mind, it’s important to wait until your contract ends.
That said, there’s nothing to stop you noting down the contract expiry date in your diary, as this will serve as a reminder to take action at that time.
Read our guide to getting out of your broadband contract early.
Further haggling tips
The best time to haggle is when you are nearing the end of your contract, as this is when you wield the most power.
If you tell your existing provider that you are going to leave, you will usually be put through to a “disconnection” department whose job it is to keep you as a customer.
Be polite but persistent and remember that charm will go a long way.
Never accept the first offer; as staff will usually have more scope for further reductions.
If you don’t get what you’re after, remember you are free to simply cancel your service and take your custom elsewhere.
For more tips and money saving information, browse our money articles.