ADVICE PROVIDED BY COMMUNICATIONS REGULATOR OFCOM AND REPRODUCED WITH THE PERMISSION OF OFCOM
Lots of people are concerned about rising living costs and are looking at ways they might be able to save money on the services they use every day. This includes phone, broadband and pay-TV services.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make sure you’re not paying too much, or to save money on the services you use.
Take a look at our tips to see if they could help you.
Could you qualify for a cheaper phone or broadband package?
If you’re having difficulty paying for your phone or broadband service, speak to your provider as soon as possible to see how they might be able to help you.
There’s a number of things they may be able to offer – one of these is called a ‘social tariff’, which is a cheaper package offered by some providers to some customers depending on their circumstances, which usually include receiving certain government benefits such as Universal Credit.
To find out more about the range of these packages on offer and to see if you might qualify, see our guide.
If you’re out of contract, you could get a better deal
Millions of people are out of contract and could be getting a better deal on their phone, broadband and pay-TV contracts. If you think you might be one of them, there are three simple steps to take.
1. Check if you’re in or out of contract
When you sign up for a new service, you’re typically tied in for 12, 18 or 24 months. This usually means that you’re not able to leave your service provider without paying a fee. To check if you’re still in this contract period, ask your provider or check using their website or app. If you haven’t spoken to your provider in the last couple of years, the chances are you’re out of contract.
2. Find the best deals in the market
If you’re out of contract, it’s time to find out if there’s a better deal available for you. Comparison websites, such as those accredited by Ofcom, provide information on the best deals out there.
It’s never been simpler to switch – you can switch mobile network with a simple text message, and cancel your broadband contract if you’re not getting the speeds you were promised when you signed up. To find out more, see our guide to switching.
3. Ask if your current provider will match it
If you’re out of contract, you’re probably paying too much, and it’s time to speak to your provider. They might be able to match, or even beat, better deals you’ve seen elsewhere.
By spending as little as five minutes on the phone to your provider you could save hundreds of pounds. If you’re unsure what to ask them, the following questions should help:
- Am I still in my initial contract period?
- How much am I paying?
- What am I getting for that price?
- Can I get a better service, and how much will it cost?
- How long will that contract be for?
- Do I need to pay any fees to sign up to a new deal?
- What happens when that contract ends?
Check your pay-TV packages – do you need them all?
Lots of homes have multiple subscriptions for different pay-TV and streaming services. However, there is often overlap when to comes to the content shown on these services – you might be getting the same films and TV series delivered by more than one service, for example.
Take a look at what film and TV packages you’re getting via your services and think about whether you’d be missing out significantly if you were to cancel one or more of them.
Many streaming services can be cancelled straight away without needing a pay any sort of penalty, so even if it’s a temporary measure it’s worth thinking about whether you can get by without any of the services you currently use.
Be aware of call costs
Most of us have a certain number of calls and texts included in our home phone and mobile packages, but it’s worth bearing in mind that these won’t always include premium rate numbers, for example.
If you need to make lots of phone calls that might include ones that fall outside your inclusive calls package, check beforehand what these calls might cost.