Cost of living champion Martin Lewis has sounded a two-month warning to anyone who has broadband, urging them to take action now. The Money Saving Expert (MSE) founder has warned of a “huge shift” taking place in March that will see broadband prices rise significantly - and even if you’re still in contract, your provider will still be able to increase your bill.
Speaking on his ITV Money Show this week, Mr Lewis explained how telecom companies could bring in mid-contract price rises equivalent to an increase of 15%. Many firms hike bills by the rate of Retail Price Index (RPI) and Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation, before whacking another 4% on top of this.
He added: “If they enact them this year, and the likelihood is they will, this could mean 15%ish hikes this spring. This usually happens in April for most of the major broadband providers, which is going to be another hit for many people.
“If you’re paying £40, that’s £6 a month extra. Even switchers’ deals will probably do this but of course, it’s £6 a month extra on £40 or if you pay £20 a month, it’s only £3 a month extra.”
The changes mean that families already grappling with rocketing energy and food bills due to the cost of living crisis could face another price increase they don’t need, this time on their internet bill. But Mr Lewis issued some advice on what to do.
First, he urged households to check if they can slash their broadband bills right now. He estimated that seven million people are out of contact and probably paying too much for their broadband when the best deals are actually offered to new customers.
If you’re out of contract, Mr Lewis advised checking prices with other companies to see what deals are around. Then, call up your current supplier and see if you can “haggle them down” to match the best price you’ve seen with another firm.
Mr Lewis explained that a recent MoneySavingExpert poll revealed a success rate of over 75% success when haggling with companies like Virgin, TalkTalk and Sky. He added: “As a loyal customer, the first thing I would do is get on the phone and I’d say: I’ve seen what you’re charging new customers.
“I’d make sure you’ve seen what other providers are charging in your area, because it’s postcode dependent, and say I’m not willing to pay that amount, can you offer me a better deal? If they say no, say I want to go through to customer disconnections - this is where they can do the big deals.
“Always be polite and if they don’t give you that price, I would be pretty annoyed and I’d want to ditch and switch and go elsewhere.”