Sky TV customers were hit with big price hikes in June for the second year running, yet you don't have to put up with it. Existing Sky customers frequently email us their successes, getting £100s off using the powerhouse weapon they possess – haggling.
Sky's one of the easiest companies to haggle with – it's even actively encouraged its customers to haggle via a high-profile TV campaign in the past. Here we show you how to use haggling to slash your bills.
In this guide...
'I haggled £600+ off my Sky bill'
Our most recent poll, in December 2015, found 88% of Sky customers who tried to haggle were successful in negotiating a better deal, showing what's possible. To see which other companies this works well on, see our list of the top service companies to haggle with.
Here are some MoneySavers who've managed to slash their Sky bills by haggling:
My Sky bill increased to £92/mth after the first year promotion ended. Two calls later and still no success so I cancelled. Within 5 minutes I was offered 50% off, plus I contacted Sky via Live Chat and managed to get 35% off the HD pack and £50 credit on top. After dropping multiroom too it came to a saving of over £660/year! - Rhys, via email
After price hikes and the end of an offer my new bill would have been £117/mth (for an all-singing-all-dancing package including TV, broadband and phone). I gave them a call and got it down to £90/mth with little fuss, saving £324/yr. - Sarah, by email
My rate was due to go up to £46.75/mth so I rang to cancel. First, they offered a 35% discount. I wasn't satisfied and again told them to cancel. A week later, they rang me back and offered a 50% discount. Again, I told them that wasn't enough. Eventually, I accepted a 60% discount so I now pay £20/mth. Plus it wasn't a new contract so I could cancel any time. - Christopher, by email
Rang Sky to cancel my £36/mth subscription and, using your tips, was offered the same package I already had for £21/mth for 13 months with the option to cancel anytime without penalty. Thanks to MSE I've saved £195 - well happy.- Kev, by email
I contacted Sky regarding its price hike and voiced my displeasure about the deals that new customers are offered, forgetting the loyal customers. I threatened to leave and ended up saving £20/mth. Thanks! - Angella, by email
Don't settle for pricey Sky packages – make it fight to keep you, or switch
If you're fed up with price hikes or your bills are going up because your promo deal's ending, don't sit back - there's plenty you can do about it. If you want to stick with Sky - and many do, particularly given some of what it offers isn't available anywhere else - don't underestimate the power of haggling.
Now we know haggling's often seen as something you do in backstreet bazaars, but it's very much alive and kicking in the UK. There are huge savings to be made Sky's services - in particular TV, but broadband and line rental too.
In a nutshell, call up and ask for a better deal. Say you're paying too much or rivals' deals are cheaper. If that doesn't work, tell them you're leaving. You'll usually get put through to companies' super-powerful hidden deals departments.
Here's the key thing to understand:
Companies make their best deals only available for newbies, and they LOVE loyal customers, because they stay with the firm through thick 'n' thin, always paying full price and never checking if their deal can be beaten.
This lets big firms rake in regular, guaranteed, easy profit. So ask yourself a question: do you want to be a customer whose business is fought for, or one who's taken for granted? If you don't want to be taken for granted, take the haggle challenge.
Haggling is just one of your price cut weapons – check new deals too
Haggling can be mega powerful, but think of it as just one part of your battle to get the best deal. Sometimes 'new customer' offers from alternative providers are simply unbeatable. So by all means haggle, but always check the price you secure against the top deals from switching – see Digital TV Deals for our top picks.
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16 top Sky haggling tips
Haggling may sound straightforward, but perfecting it is an art. Here are our top tips for haggling with Sky – for more, see our full guide on Haggling with Service Providers.
Do a channel audit
Work out what you really watch on Sky and ditch the rest. There's no point paying for access to channels you don't watch.
Timing is crucial
Haggling works best when you're near or beyond the end of your contract. There's no harm in giving it a try earlier though – if you struggle, note in your diary when you'll be nearing the end of your contract and call back then (you can give Sky notice of leaving 31 days beforehand).
Furthermore, if a provider hikes broadband or line rental prices (sadly the rule doesn't apply to TV packages) you have 30 days from receiving your notification letter to leave your contract penalty-free, even if you're still in the minimum term. Remember this in future and use it as leverage when haggling if it ever ups prices mid-contract.
Benchmark the best deal
It's important to have the factual arsenal at your fingertips before you pick up the phone, so do your homework.
Research the deals, discounts and codes that Sky and its competitors offer to act as a basis for negotiation. Our Digital TV Deals guide has the best buys, and you can sign up to our weekly email to get the latest offers.
Tell 'em you're happy with Freeview
Freeview costs nothing for many people and comes with loads of channels. If you mention it, it shows Sky you know what you're talking about.
It's a useful opening gambit to start your haggle with as mentioning it tells Sky your opening offer is £0. You can then take it from there, and hopefully you'll have a little more wiggle room to get a top deal.
Use Sky's price promises against it
Right now Sky's running adverts encouraging its customers to contact it and see what 'exclusive deals' are available if you stay with Sky (see here for details). It's actively encouraging you to haggle, so it would be rude not to take advantage...
Sky's ads suggest you contact it on 03442 411 922 or go via its online chat service. So see what they'll give you.
Of course, if you're not satisfied with what you're offered when you call Sky's advertised number, you can always try to haggle via another avenue - see point 6 below for how to contact its retentions department.
Get through to the retentions department
Remember, if you're coming to the end of your contract, or are out of it, you're wielding a powerhouse weapon: customer loyalty. It's simple to use - just tell 'em you're going to leave.
If you don't have any luck via its advertised contact number, then it may be worth trying another route to the 'customer retentions' department - aka the Holy Grail of haggling - instead. (Note - this department might be called 'disconnections' externally, but make no mistake, customer retention's their job.)
If you call customer services and tell them you want to leave they should put you through, but to get through as quickly as possible, call Sky's 'TV cancellations' number on 0333 2022 152. Otherwise, try this number 0333 2022 135 – it starts as an automated service to find out why you're calling, but you're eventually put through.
Use charm, chutzpah, cheek... and a smile
Aggression or anger will just put their back up. You're asking for a discount, and they're just as much within their right not to give it as you are to leave. Aim for polite, firm and non-combative.
Use the phrases that pay
You may find that your Sky customer service rep will only offer a small discount at first, but if you don't agree with the price, try phrases like:
- "I've worked out my budget, and my absolute max is £[insert price here]/mth..."
- "[TalkTalk/Virgin/BT] can do it for less..."
- "I need to think about it..."
- "I think my husband / wife will go bonkers if I pay that..."
- "It's still a lot of money..."
- "What's the very best you can do?"
Don't panic if they call your bluff and say they'll disconnect you
Some people worry and get nervous to try this in case they're disconnected. Martin's easy 'get out of jail free' card on this is the phrase: "Hold on, I'll call you back on that. I'd like to check with my wife/husband/dog first."
Problems mean discounts
If you've had issues with Sky in the past, such as slow broadband or long customer call waiting times, politely tell them when you haggle. It's useful ammunition - they should want to try and make it up to you.
Don't say yes to the first offer they give
You should never go with the first offer. Chances are, it's not the best deal they can do. Remember, be firm.
Don't fill the silence
They may push you to agree because it's a 'limited-time offer', but don't feel pressured into agreeing to the new price or deal unless you're certain.
As negotiations come to a close, a classic salesman technique is to stay silent. They want you to feel awkward and fill the silence. Make them fill it with a cheaper offer.
Ask if they can throw in extras
If they won't slash the price, ask them if they can at least include any extras, such as free calls or extra channels.
If you fail - try, try and try again
While unconfirmed, we hear rumours that at some companies different staff members have different quotas of how many deals they can do.
Even if that's not true, it certainly feels like that to many. So you may have called the wrong person at the wrong time. Calling back a few days later and speaking to someone else may pay dividends.
The high-stakes option – cancel and see you're offered up to 50% off
Some MoneySavers have recently reported that they cancelled Sky TV and were then given a voucher for up to 50% off shortly after, either on their TV, in their Sky online account or through the post.
This is a risky option, as there are absolutely no guarantees you will be sent an offer, but if you've tried all the other haggling avenues and are thinking of leaving anyway it might be worth a try.
After you receive your email confirmation to say you're leaving Sky, check your account via the interactive button on your TV to see if you have been sent an offer or log in to My Sky. Some have reported receiving a voucher for a lower amount in their online account than via their TV, and others have also successfully asked for between £50 to £100 bill credit on top via live chat.
Always check the full details off the offer to ensure you know exactly what you're getting and which parts of your bill the discount would apply to. Here's some inspiration from those who've managed to bag the discount:
Took the leap of faith and cancelled. Had the 50% offer on my home page within five minutes. Accepted that offer, and also negotiated a new box as one of ours was faulty. Both daughters also took the leap of faith, both had the 50% offer within minutes. One managed 60% off everything, the other 50% plus £50 credit in account.- Forumite Janeway224
I talked to Sky about my package and was offered 10% discount. I cancelled and a few minutes later had a 35% offer in my online account and 50% via interactive. Called them, accepted 50% and after a chat was also given £50 credit.- Forumite DropInTheNorthSea
My account online gives me an offer of 35% off but my Sky app offers me the 50% discount. I'm going to leave it until the last minute to "rejoin" so we don't loose any service. By then I might get the credit offer as well.- Forumite tarkytarks
Finally, if Sky really won't play ball, vote with your feet
If you don't get what you want, you should seriously consider leaving. Remember, new customers often have the pick of the best TV deals and there are other providers out there. Use our Digital TV deals guide to find the best one for you.
And finally, are you still not ready to pick up the phone? Watch Martin's How to Haggle video to get tips from a pro...