Telecoms provider Primus Saver is increasing phone and broadband monthly costs for 45,000 customers this August.

Line rental will increase by 1.20 a month (14.40 a year) from 15 August for affected customers on home phone-only or phone and broadband deals.

Primus has no plans to increase call costs or the price of broadband-only packages.

The company won't automatically let customers exit contracts penalty-free but you may be able to complain your way out of a tie-in, if you'd rather switch.

However, 20,000 of Primus's 65,000 customers will not see prices rise, while the cost of its exclusive deals listed on will not increase.

The list of deals where prices will rise is too long to reproduce here but affected customers are being notified by email today or by letter on Monday.

Customers on the following packages will escape the jump:

  • Home Phone & Broadband 10GB.
  • Home Phone & Broadband 20GB.
  • Prepaid Home Phone & Broadband.
  • Prepaid Home Phone (Saver Basic, Value, Plus and Extra).
  • Line Rental Saver, but only if the customer signed up for it between 15 April and 12 July this year.

Can customers get out of their contract?

Primus says customers will not be allowed to exit their deal early without penalty, as it doesn't believe the increase leaves anyone at a significant disadvantage, "especially when the line rental pricing is compared to other providers in the market".

Regulator Ofcom's rules mean if a provider makes a change to a customer's contract of "material detriment", you should be free to switch without penalty.

If you feel you have suffered "material detriment" and want to switch penalty-free you should first complain to Primus, and if you get nowhere you can complain to the Ombudsman Services.

Other home phone hikes

Primus increased some call prices, including calls to landlines, mobiles and internationally in January (see the Primus call charges MSE News story).

TalkTalk upped its line rental last month, while O2 increased line rental costs in March with further hikes coming into force in March 2013.

Giant BT last upped line rental prices in December its third hike in 14 months, although it has said it will not raise prices again until 2013.

A Primus spokeswoman says: "The wholesale cost of line rental increased from our own suppliers too, but we decided not to pass on these increases to our customers for as long as possible.

"Unfortunately we now need to pass on a small increase on our line rental pricing to ensure that we can continue to provide high standards of customer care and quality of service."

This story was updated om 5 July to state Primus had 65,000 customers after it incorrectly told us it had 650,000 initially. In fact, Primus's parent company New Call Telecom has 650,000 customers.

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