Plusnet is to hike its home phone and broadband prices for a second consecutive year, with some customers paying up to £30/year more from 1 September. But if you're affected, you can leave your contract penalty-free, or if you're willing to stay, you can beat the hike by haggling.

The BT-owned firm has announced wide-ranging price and product changes, which include line rental going up from £16.99/month to £17.99/month, unlimited broadband (for broadband only customers) rising from £12.49/month to £13.49/month (for most customers), and anytime call plans increasing from £6/month to £6.50/month.

This is the second year on the spin that Plusnet has cranked up costs for existing customers, but the good news is you can quit your contract without paying a fee if you let it know within 30 days of being notified of the hikes (see more on this below).

What's changing?

Here's a summary of some of the main price changes coming into effect from 1 September – for full details of all the changes, see Plusnet's FAQs.

Plusnet price changes

Product name Price change New price from 1 Sept 2016
Monthly line rental +£1 £17.99/mth
Line Rental Saver package (when you pay upfront) Staying the same £185.88/yr
Plusnet Unlimited broadband (no longer available to new customers) +£1 £13.49/mth (for the vast majority of customers - up £1 to £20.49/mth for some)
Unlimited broadband +£1 £13.49/mth (for the vast majority of customers - up £1 to £20.99/mth for some)
Value broadband +£1 £15.49/mth
Essentials broadband +£1 £13.99/mth
Evening and weekend calls plan +50p £3.50/mth
Anytime calls plan +50p £6.50/mth
Call set-up fee +3p 19p/call
Geographic call charges (to 01, 02 and 03) +2.54p 12.54p/min
Mobile call charges -0.46p 12.54p/min
Engineer cost +£15 £65/visit

The changes mean that Value and Essentials customers who have line rental and a call plan could end up paying an extra £2.50/month from 1 September – or £30/year.

Can I escape my contract penalty-free as a result of the price hikes?

The good news is, if you're affected by the price increases you CAN leave penalty-free as a result. You just need to contact Plusnet within 30 days of receiving notification, and then give the company 14 days' notice.

Plusnet has told us that not every customer is affected but "the average price increase across the whole base is exactly £1".

Haggle, haggle, haggle...

It's worth remembering that Plusnet isn't the only telecoms provider to hike its prices recently, so if you're happy with your service but not the planned price rises you may want to try to haggle a better deal for yourself rather than leave.

We've detailed tips on how to do this in our Broadband Haggling guide – here are five of our top tips.

  1. Mid-contract price hikes can strengthen your position. You can use them as a bargaining chip, particularly if you have the right to leave penalty-free as a result – it's likely it'll make an effort to keep you as a customer.

  2. 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. OurCheap Broadband guide has the best buys.

  3. Get through to the retentions department. The customer service person should put you through to the 'customer retentions' department – aka the Holy Grail of haggling – where the operators have serious discount-giving power. (Note – this department might be called 'disconnections' externally, but make no mistake, customer retention's their job.)

  4. 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.

  5. 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."

  6. What Plusnet says

    A statement on Plusnet's website says: "Over the past year we've been working really hard to make improvements to our products and services that will make your experience as a Plusnet customer better than ever.

    "We've invested in our network to make it even more reliable, we've rewritten and revamped all of our help and support content so it's even easier for you to find answers to your questions, and we've launched a new and improved community site where you can talk to other Plusnet users and get tips and advice.

    "Most importantly of all, we've been investing in staff to make sure we're always available to answer your calls or chats at our UK call centres.

    "All this investment means that from time to time we have to make price increases so that we're able to continue providing you with an award-winning service."