Four million TalkTalk customers will be hit with inflation busting price hikes of up to 50% from 1 October, the provider has revealed today.
But you can leave penalty-free, and there are ways for those who want to stay with TalkTalk to beat the hikes as we explain below – also see our Cheap Home Phones and Cheap Broadband guides for the best buys.
Revealed: how prices will rise from 1 October
Here's what's happening for existing customers, these prices will take effect from when you receive your October bill:
- Standard line rental: Will rise to £17.70/month from £16.70.
- Value line rental (where you pay for a year upfront): Will rise to £191.16/year from £180.36, when you come to renewal.
- 'Simply broadband' package: Will rise to £7.50/month from £5/month – an increase of 50%. It only increased from £3.50/month to £5/month on 1 June 2015.
From 1 December, the call connection fee when making calls outside of your bundle to UK mobiles and landlines will rise to 17p/call from 16p/call, it will however remain free when making calls within your bundle.
Also from 1 December, the access charge to call service providers using 084, 087, 09 and 118 numbers will increase from 5p/minute to 7.5p/minute for calls from landlines, and from 20p/minute to 25p/minute for calls from mobiles. You also pay a service charge on top of these calls, which is set by the business you're calling. See our Say No to 0870 to cut call costs to non-geographic numbers.
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Five steps to beat the TalkTalk hikes and cut costs
1. Ditch and switch. You can leave penalty-free.
If you want to leave TalkTalk, the provider says you've got 30 calendar days from notification to tell it.
If you have value line rental TalkTalk has confirmed you will be refunded any unused months left on your contract if you decide to cancel.
2. Want to stick with TalkTalk? Pay for line rental upfront.
Standard line rental will cost £17.70/month (£212.40 per year) from 1 October. But if you can afford to pay upfront, choose TalkTalk's value line rental option where you pay in one go for the whole year.
Existing customers who do this before 1 October can lock in for the year at the current £180.36/year price, vastly undercutting standard line rental. After 1 October it'll cost £191.16, which is still a saving compared to standard line rental.
New TalkTalk customers will pay the higher £191.16 price for value line rental from today.
The best prices are usually reserved for new customers, so existing ones lose out on cracking deals. But if you're willing to take the haggle challenge, you could beat a price hike.
In our latest service provider haggle poll, 83% of TalkTalk customers polled said they had a success haggling. See our guide on how to haggle with TalkTalk for full help on what to do, but in the meantime,here are five tips to start...
- Benchmark the best deal elsewhere so you ask for a realistic discount.
- Get through to the retentions (sometimes called disconnections) department, as 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.
- Don't panic if they call your bluff and say they'll disconnect you.
- Problems mean discounts, so if you've had issues with BT in the past – eg, slow broadband – politely tell it when you haggle.
Also watch Martin's How to Haggle video for more inspiration.
4. If you want to call, use override providers.
With a no-frills override provider, you dial a prefix or access number to connect to its service, then pay its cost, often just via your BT bill.
This can cut costs from 5p/min to 5p/call, and slash mobile rates. Full details in our Override Providers section.
5. Use mobile minutes or call web-to-web for free.
To cut call costs, why pay for a call if you don't have to? So if you've inclusive mobile minutes then use those instead of paying for a BT call.
Also, if you and the person you're calling are both online and have the same special app or web service (eg, Skype, Viber, Facetime or WhatsApp), you can call for free, no matter where in the world you both are.
Do note, there may be charges for using the internet if you are not on WiFi or you're not using unlimited WiFi.
You can do this using a smartphone, tablet or PC. See our Free Web Calls guide for more info.
Why is TalkTalk upping prices?
A spokesperson for TalkTalk says: "While some prices are increasing, TalkTalk remains Britain's best value provider, with our customers saving up to £134 a year in comparison to BT and getting more for their money.
"We're investing in adding more to our packages to meet our customers ever-increasing needs. We're the only provider to offer totally unlimited broadband as standard, we've added more TV content, a free mobile SIM in our Plus package, and we're giving all customers free internet security software."
Have other providers hiked prices?
It's not just TalkTalk that's hiking prices. Here's a summary of price hikes the other major telecoms providers have recently announced:
- Virgin Media upped prices for customers with Sky Sports or Movies from 1 June.
- TalkTalk hiked broadband, TV and home phone prices from 1 July.
- Sky TV customers face up to 10% price hike from 1 September.
- Plusnet is hiking home phone and line rental prices from 2 September.
- BT is increasing broadband, home phone and TV prices from 20 September.