BT will hit millions of customers with price rises of 6% at the beginning of 2013. But there's a way to escape contracts for a cheaper deal penalty-free if you act in time.

The hikes, which take effect on 5 January 2013, will be the fourth set of rises the telecoms giant has implemented in just over two years. They come just as households will be counting costs due to the start of energy price rises.

Line rental and call price rises

  • Line rental is rising from £14.60 to £15.45 a month.
  • The set-up fee price per call is rising from 13.1p to 13.87p (for chargeable calls).
  • Daytime call costs are rising from 7.95p to 8.41p per minute.
  • Evening calls are rising from 1.05p to 1.11p per minute.
  • Its Unlimited Anytime Plan is rising from £4.90 to £5.15 a month (on top of standard line rental).
  • The charge for paying by cash or cheque is increasing from £1.89 to £2.
  • The charge for leaving your contract early is also increasing.

Broadband monthly price rises

  • BT Broadband Option 1 is rising from £17.80 to £18.85.
  • BT Broadband Option 2 is rising from £22.50 to £23.80.
  • BT Broadband Option 3 is rising from £26.80 to £28.35.
  • BT Infinity Option 1 is rising from £21.00 to £22.20.
  • BT Infinity Option 2 is rising from £26.80 to £28.35.
  • The charge for leaving your contract early is also increasing.

BT Vision monthly price rises

  • Sky Sports 1 or Sky Sports 2 individually are rising from £12.90 to £15.00 for customers on a 12 or 18 month Vision contract, and from £7.20 to £10 for customers on a 24 month broadband, TV and calls contract
  • Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2 together are rising from £18.20 to £20.00 for customers on a 12 or 18 month Vision contract, and from £12.30 to £15 for customers on a 24 month broadband, TV and calls contract
  • Single packs (Vision, Kids, Music, Film, TV, Sport) are rising from £7.20 per pack to £7.50
  • TV Replay is rising from £4 to £5
  • BT Vision Essential is rising from £4 to £5
  • The charge for leaving your contract early is also increasing.

How to escape your contract

Under BT terms and conditions, as a price rise is considered to be to your "detriment", you have 10 days from receiving notice of a price rise to terminate your contract without incurring an early termination fee.

BT's terms state: "If British Telecom Payment Services makes a change to your material disadvantage, you may terminate your BT Telephony Services, BT Total Broadband or BT Vision agreement.

"Contact us directly within 10 calendar days of receiving our price change notification you may cease your services without penalty."

BT says customers will be notified of the price changes in the BT Update magazine sent with bills in September, October and December. If you have an online account, you'll be emailed in September or October.

BT has also confirmed if you're in the middle of a contract, it will allow you to switch to its Line Rental Saver, which costs £129/year paid up-front, without a penalty but you will start a new 12-month contract.

How to beat price hikes

Once you've escaped your contract penalty-free, you can switch.

To almost halve the cost of line rental, unless you've a cable or Kingston Communications line, you can get Primus's Line Rental Saver, which is currently £7.99 per month for a year without any inclusive calls.

Alternatively, Primus's Home Phone Saver is £9.19, including landline, evening and weekend calls.

Also, check whether you can sign up to a no-frills 'override' calls provider, such as 18185, which, when dialled as a prefix, will allow you to cut the cost of daytime calls to landlines to 5p per call or 1p/min from a Sky or Virgin landline.

In addition, 18185 charges a 5p connection fee then from 6p per minute to call mobiles, although the per-minute price is higher at weekends.

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