Millions of Sky customers hit with inflation-busting line-rental price rises last month have been given a fresh opportunity to haggle a better deal after action by regulator Ofcom.
If you're affected by the price rises, which came into effect on 1 December, you now have until 31 January to cancel your home phone and broadband penalty-free and move elsewhere – see Cheap Home Phones and Cheap Broadband for the best buys. Sky's extended the cancellation deadline after being told to ensure customers are "treated fairly" by Ofcom, which received 30 complaints about the price hikes.
If you're happy to stay with Sky though, now's a great time to call them and negotiate a better price for your overall package, including TV. While you're always able to haggle with a provider, it's particularly powerful when you're able to leave your contract penalty-free and after prices have been raised.
What were the price hikes?
Sky increased prices for home phone and broadband customers on 1 December. The cost of standard line rental jumped 6%, from £16.40/mth to £17.40/mth, while those who got their Sky Talk (home phone) package before 7 July 2015 were moved to one of its new packages – some automatically went from a free to paid-for package. Voicemail and non-inclusive call costs also rose – see the Sky price hikes MSE news story for full info.
Ofcom says it contacted Sky after receiving 30 complaints specifically about the changes to Sky Talk packages. Sky's now giving all those affected by December's price hikes – not just those moved to a new Sky Talk package – until 31 January to escape their home phone and broadband contract without any early termination charges, or downgrade their Sky Talk package and receive a refund or account credit for any relevant charges.
If you're happy to stay with Sky, haggle, haggle, haggle
For many who want to stay with Sky, the real boon of being able to leave your contract penalty-free is the extra ammunition it gives you to haggle a better deal.
In our latest service provider haggle poll, 88% of Sky customers polled said they had a success haggling. See our full How to Haggle with Sky guide for detailed help on what to do.
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.
- Be charming and 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 Sky in the past – eg, slow broadband – politely tell it when you haggle.
'I saved a whopping £350 per year'
Lots of MoneySavers had success haggling cheaper packages when the price hikes were first announced, with some managing to secure a better TV deal as well, even though the hikes (and the right to leave your contract) doesn't apply to TV. For example:
Brian said: "Rang Sky & asked it to match Virgin’s Big Kahuna movies & sport; now £50/month down from £100/month."
Richie said: "Just called Sky to cancel phone and broadband and have ended up with 33% off TV (inc movies) for 6 months, £9.99 line rental for 10 months, free broadband for 12 months and a £35 credit. Total saving on my current bill is over £150 over the next six months, and it's still £10 a month cheaper than my current package after that."
Crystal said: "Followed the easy steps to save on Sky subscriptions and saved a whopping £350 per year... fantastic."
Jamie said: "Spent an hour on live chat and managed to get line rental at £9.99 for 10 months, 35% off TV for 12 months, free broadband for 12 months, and 50% off multiroom HD for 12 months with installation fees waived. To say I'm pleased is an understatement."
What does Ofcom say?
An Ofcom spokesperson says: "We closely monitor complaints from consumers to identify potential consumer harm. After receiving complaints from some Sky customers unhappy about being moved to a new Sky Talk calls package, we contacted Sky to ensure those affected were treated fairly."
What does Sky say?
A Sky spokesperson says: “We recently changed our Sky Talk packages so that customers would gain even more inclusive calls, including to UK mobiles, for as little as £4 a month. We notified customers of the changes in October and let them know they could switch to another package any time, or cancel their Sky Talk service without incurring any early termination charges (where applicable) if they told us in 30 days.
"Customers who would like more time to decide if they want to stay with Sky Talk now have until 31 January to let us know."