EE landline and broadband customers are facing an average £18/year hike to home phone line rental costs and a rise in 'out of bundle' call prices from 23 January. But you can escape your contract penalty-free if you notify EE soon.
The firm is now contacting all its customers to notify them of the price hike, but in short:
- Line rental costs will be hiked by an average of £1.50/mth (£18/yr). However, in some cases it will be by more – though EE refuses to say what the maximum increase could be, so check the letter or email it sends you. Some customers have told us they'll be paying £18.50/mth after the hike, but as what you pay is based on when you signed up, this also varies.
- 'Out of bundle' call connection fees for calls to UK landlines and mobiles will increase from 17p to 20p, while the international connection charge will increase from 15p to 20p. (These are one-off connection fees you pay for each call on top of the per-minute call costs.)
- 'Out of bundle' call costs for calls to UK landlines and mobiles are going up by 1p/minute, to 12.5p/minute and 15p/minute respectively.
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How to beat the hikes 1 – escape your contract penalty-free
If you want to leave your contract, the good news is you CAN escape penalty-free.
Under regulator Ofcom's rules, those who have taken out a line rental, broadband or mobile contract from 23 January 2014 onwards can cancel their contract penalty-free if a provider ups its monthly prices mid-term and didn't warn you about the rise when you bought the contract. But EE says ANYONE affected by the rises can leave penalty-free.
To do this, you must let EE know you're leaving within 30 days of it giving you official notice of the price rises (EE says it's currently contacting customers). If you want to switch to another provider, you'll then have a 14-day notice period. If you just want to leave without switching to a new provider, your notice period will be 30 days.
How to beat the hikes 2 – haggle, haggle, haggle
Alternatively, if you're willing to stick with EE, this is a great time to haggle a much better deal – especially as you'll have the right to leave penalty-free if they don't give you one.
Here are a few tips to try:
- Benchmark the best deal elsewhere so you ask for a realistic discount.
- Make sure you mention the price hike as your reason for leaving – it's useful haggling ammunition.
- Get through to the retentions (sometimes called disconnections) department. They have the most power to slash costs, as their job is to keep you.
- Use charm and be friendly. Aggression or anger will just put their back up.
- Problems mean discounts, so if you've had issues with EE in the past – eg, slow broadband – politely tell it when you haggle.
- You may find that your EE customer service rep will only offer a small discount at first, but if you don't agree with the price use phrases like: "I've worked out my budget, and my absolute max is £[insert price here]/month"; "[Talk Talk/Sky/Virgin] can do it for less"; "I need to think about it".
- You should never go with the first offer. Chances are, it's not the best deal they can do. Remember, be firm.
- The salesperson may push you to agree because it's a 'limited-time offer' – don't feel pressured into agreeing to the new price or deal unless you're certain.
For full help see our Broadband Haggling guide.
What does EE say?
An EE spokesperson says: "We are contacting our home broadband customers to inform them of some changes we are making to the cost of line rental and calls made outside of their allowances from 23 January 2017.
"Despite these changes, EE remains one of the most competitive providers in the market. We are committed to offering our customers the best value and service, including bringing all EE customer service calls back to the UK and Ireland by the end of 2016."
Have other providers hiked prices recently too?
EE is not alone in raising prices:
- Three million TalkTalk customers were hit with price hikes last month of up to £33/year for their broadband, phone and TV packages.
- Some 5.2 million Virgin Media home phone, broadband and TV customers also faced price rises of an average of 5.1% last month.
- BT hit customers with above-inflation price increases from 3 July, with the cost of line rental rising by £1/month, some broadband packages increasing by up to 15% and BT Sport up 20%.
- Sky TV hiked prices from 1 June, with the cost for some going up by up to £72/year.
Has EE been in touch to say that your bills are going up? Let us know how much more you're expected to pay on your line rental by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.