MILLIONS of households could miss out on cheaper TV, broadband, mobile and phone bills.
A whopping 6.16 million households are out of contract with their broadband provider, according to exclusive data provided to The Sun by Uswitch.
And they could save £91 a year, on average, by switching or haggling for a better deal.
This represents an additional £567million paid by Britons to broadband companies.
Millions of households face rising bills this summer, adding hundreds of pounds to expenses.
We are all facing a cost of living crisis, with soaring inflation, energy bills and tax changes in our pockets.
Now is the time to compare offers and see if you can lower your bills before costs start to rise in April.
Last February, new rules came into effect which means telephone, broadband and pay-TV customers need to be told when their contract is ending and how much they could save with a new deal.
These notifications must be sent between ten and 40 days before the end of a contract, by SMS, e-mail or post.
Customers can start haggling whenever they want, but the last 40 days before a deal expires is the best time to trade.
Some operators automatically reduce your bill once you have paid for your mobile phone.
Those on O2’s Refresh tariff will see their bills drop after paying for the handset item.
EE automatically reduces bills by ten percent for those who have paid for their handset.
This is done three months after the end of the contract. But don’t be afraid to haggle for a bigger discount.
Other providers may not do this automatically, so you need to challenge them to get a better deal.
Even if you’re halfway through, it’s worth considering if they can give you a cheaper deal or give you a freebie.
Notification triggers starting gun
If you don’t save any money, mark it in your calendar to challenge them again.
We’ve heard of customers haggling with vendors up to 90 days before the end of a contract.
A quick phone call could save you hundreds of dollars.
Start by comparing offers using a website such as Uswitch or Moneysupermarket.
Then talk to your supplier about what they can offer you.
If you are outside your initial contract, you can leave free of charge.
If not, check to see if the savings you could make are greater than the fees you would have to pay.
Ernest Doku, telecommunications expert at Uswitch, said: “Receiving an end-of-contract notification kicks off consumers getting a better deal on their broadband, mobile or pay-TV.
“If you are nearing the end of your contract, the power is in your hands and now is the perfect time to haggle with your current supplier.
Suppliers will want to hold on to your custom, so there is often wiggle room if you don’t want to accept their offer.
“They also have more to lose if you go elsewhere if you receive more than one service from them as part of a bundle.”
“Saved £268 on mobile bill with just one phone call”
WRITER Charlotte Tarrant saved £268 a year by making a phone call to O2.
The 45-year-old, founder of children’s book publisher Starlike Books, knew she was nearing the end of her mobile phone contract with the company.
She called and asked if there was anything she could do to reduce her bills.
She cut her monthly mobile phone bill from nearly £35 to just £7.20 for three months and then to £14.40 thereafter. This represents a saving of £268 per year.
She lives with her daughter Natalie, four, and her partner Phil, 61, who is a photographer.
She said: “I always keep an eye on my bills and save where I can.
“It was brilliant – and I saved a lot more than I expected. I’m delighted with the result.”
An O2 spokesperson said: ‘We pride ourselves on fairness to customers.
How to do
BARGAINING expert Davina Schonle, founder of business advisory firm Selling Into Corporates, shares her top tips for negotiating with suppliers.
- Timing is key – always set a journal reminder for 40 days before a contract ends.
- Remember, this is a person on the other line, so build rapport. They want to give you a good deal. Be polite.
- Tell them what you want. Be ready to negotiate. Find out what their rivals are charging.
- You have a cooling off period of 14 days so you can always change your mind if you are not satisfied or find a better deal.
- Think about what is important to you. It’s not always the cost, sometimes it’s the programs or the customer service.
- Be ready to go if you want to lower your bills.
“I got £180 off and an upgrade”
MUM-OF-TWO Maddy Alexander-Grout, 38, has saved £180 a year on her family’s TV package with Sky.
Maddy, who lives in Southampton and runs the money-saving app My VIP Rewards, phoned Sky just before Christmas as she was unhappy with the price of her TV package, which did not include not broadband.
She had also had signal issues with the service.
After haggling, she dropped the price to £115 a month from £130 – and upgraded to Sky Q, the company’s premium TV and entertainment service, and fiber broadband no additional cost.
Maddy lives with her husband James, who is a gardener, and her children, Ben, six, and Harriet, two.
She said: “I try not to pay full price for anything because I know there is always room for negotiation.
“Having the extra Sky Q box is great for the family as it means we can watch different things at the same time and don’t have to fight.”
IF YOU want to change your mobile phone provider, you can do it with just one SMS.
- TO KEEP YOUR NUMBER: Text PAC to 65075. Your current provider will respond with your PAC (Porting Authorization Code), valid for 30 days. They should also tell you your final bill, early cancellation fees, or pay-as-you-go credit balances. You then hand over the PAC to your new supplier, who will organize the change.
- TO CHANGE WITHOUT KEEPING YOUR NUMBER: Text STAC to 75075 to receive a “Termination of Service Authorization Code”. Give this code to your new provider and the above process is the same.
- TO FIND OUT IF YOU ARE STILL IN A CONTRACT: text INFO to 85075. A similar process will soon be in place for business broadband on the Openreach network, which includes BT, EE, Sky and TalkTalk.