Haggle with BT
Shave £100s/yr off costly bills
When it comes to phone lines and broadband, BT is the nation's most popular provider. While it's not the cheapest, many of you like to stay with a name you know, but don't stick with higher prices and multiple price increases – haggle your way to a cheaper deal.
'I haggled £318/yr off my BT bill'
In our last haggling poll, in November 2020, 77% of BT customers who tried to haggle told us they were successful in negotiating a better deal, showing what's possible.
To see who else this works well on, see the Top 10 Firms To Haggle With, but here are a just few good examples of MoneySavers who've slashed their BT bills by haggling.
After the end of my contract with BT, followed by months of paying over the odds and not getting round to making 'the call', I have just successfully saved myself £318/year off my broadband package (which includes landline rental & 700 minutes) using your 'Haggle with BT' tips.
- Carol, by email
Just saved my mother £258/year on her BT phone, broadband and digibox, with a 10-minute phone call. Thank you.
- Marian, by email
Brilliant! After reading your haggling advice, I have saved £276/year. Thank you.
- Debs, by email
Just haggled with BT and halved my bill! Thanks MSE.
- Paula, via Twitter
Don't let the big player play you – fight back
Many of you tell us you want to stick with BT. Our line is usually loyalty doesn't pay – which is generally true when it comes to saving money. But, if you are happy with your service and you're out of contract, loyalty isn't bad IF you can get the same package for a better price, without sacrificing the services you want and need.
Now to your biggest weapons – talking with your feet by switching to another provider, or the art of negotiation, otherwise known as haggling.
Here's the key thing to understand:
Companies make their best deals only available for newbies, and they LOVE loyal customers as they stay with the firm through thick 'n' thin, paying full price and never looking for a better deal.
This lets them rake in regular, guaranteed, easy profit. So ask yourself a question: do you want to be a customer whose business is fought for? Unless you want to be taken for granted, take the haggle challenge.
In a nutshell, call up and ask for a better deal. Say you're paying too much or rivals' deals are cheaper. If BT doesn't budge after that, or you're not happy with the offer, say you're leaving. More often than not you'll be transferred to its cancellations department – aka 'retentions'.
Now you should be speaking to staff who have the power to offer hidden, unpublicised deals.
Check new deals too – remember, switching may be best
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 – compare broadband, phone & TV using our tool.
Four top haggling tips
The best prices are usually reserved for new customers, so existing ones lose out on cracking deals. If you're willing to take the haggle challenge, you could beat a price hike.
Here are our top tips to haggle with BT – for other providers, see Top 10 Firms To Haggle With.
1. Timing is crucial – if you're out-of-contract, or close to the end, it's easier to leave without penalty
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.
Even if you do forget, don't panic as telecoms and pay-TV companies are now forced to tell you that your contract is ending. This can be via a letter, email or text between 10 and 40 days before it ends.
Furthermore, if a provider hikes broadband or line rental prices (or TV prices depending on how your contract is structured) you may be able to leave your contract penalty-free, even if you're still in the minimum term. This may also be the case if the price of additional services you frequently use is hiked, causing you "material detriment".
If this happens you'll have 30 days from receiving notification of the price hike and right to leave penalty-free to decide what to do. It's a great opportunity to haggle or move to a cheaper provider.
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. Compare broadband, phone line and TV deals to find the best buys and sign up to our weekly email to get the latest offers.
Remember, if you're coming to the end of your contract, or you're already out of it, you're wielding a powerhouse weapon – customer loyalty. It's simple to use too – just tell 'em you're going to leave.
If you don't have any luck via the advertised ways of getting in touch, 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 BT cancellations on 0800 783 1401 – it starts as an automated service to find out why you're calling, but you should get put through to the right place after a couple of minutes.
Use charm, chutzpah, cheek... and a smile
Aggression or anger will just put their back up and won't get you anywhere. 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, friendly, non-combative yet firm.
Use the phrases that pay
You may find that your BT 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."
- "[Sky/Plusnet/TalkTalk/Virgin Media] can do it for less."
- "I need to think about it."
- "I think my other half 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/goldfish first."
Problems mean discounts
If you've had issues with BT in the past, such as slow broadband or long customer service 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 sales 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 a faster connection. 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.
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