TalkTalk broadband customers face £30/yr bill hike despite some being on a 'fixed' tariff – your rights
TalkTalk is hiking prices for certain customers on its Fibre 35 and Fibre 65 broadband plans this month – but you don't have to accept the increases. Depending on when you got TalkTalk's notification, you may be able to leave penalty-free or haggle a discount. Here's what you need to know.
The hike affects customers who signed up to a Fibre 35 or Fibre 65 broadband plan before 1 March 2021. These households will see prices rise by £2.50/mth (£30/yr) from 1 July. But the advertising watchdog is now investigating after some customers said they were offered 'fixed' prices for the duration of their contract when signing up. TalkTalk says its fixed price plan terms and conditions do allow for price rises with the right to leave within 30 days. If you're affected, see full help below.
It follows a raft of price increases announced by TalkTalk earlier this year, although customers who had taken out a Fibre 35 or Fibre 65 tariff between 10 November 2020 and 1 March 2021 were excluded at the time. TalkTalk hasn't confirmed the exact number of customers whose bills will rise, only saying it's a "very small proportion". Other products, including TalkTalk's other broadband packages, aren't currently changing in price.
TalkTalk's deals for newbies are currently among the cheapest on the market and are among our best-buys – and prices for new customers signing up to Fibre 35 or Fibre 65 plans aren't changing today. See our How to find cheap broadband deals guide and our Broadband Unbundled tool if you're thinking of switching.
'TalkTalk gave me a 'fixed price guarantee' but is hiking my prices three months after signing up'
Some TalkTalk customers say their bills are rising despite being on a fixed-price plan. Here are some of the complaints we've seen:
TalkTalk is under investigation by the ASA
When we asked the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) if some of the emails TalkTalk had reportedly sent customers breached the UK Advertising Codes it told us it's formally investigating a TV and an email ad for TalkTalk broadband over whether references to fixed prices were misleading. But given the investigation is ongoing it couldn't comment further.
The ASA added that, in principle, ads should not state that prices are fixed for a contractual period for customers if the business plans or enacts price changes within that period.
Separately, telecoms regulator Ofcom told us that if companies go back on a promise not to raise prices, they have to give customers the option to leave their contracts penalty-free – though it wouldn't directly confirm if TalkTalk had broken any rules.
As the specifics of this price rise weren't written into the terms and conditions you agreed to when signing up, you may have the right to leave your contract penalty-free – but whether you can do this depends on how long ago you received the notification about the price increase from TalkTalk.
- If you were notified in the last 30 days, you CAN leave penalty-free. You just need to tell TalkTalk within 30 days of receiving the notification by calling customer services on 0345 172 0088.
But remember – there's no point leaving in frustration if your current deal is still the cheapest out there. So check rival providers' prices using our Broadband Unbundled tool, and remember other firms also increase prices from time to time. In the past few months we've seen increases from BT and EE, Sky, Virgin Media and Vodafone.
TalkTalk started notifying customers on 1 June, so for some, it may now be too late to leave penalty-free – though based on reports we've seen many others were contacted later in June, so have longer to cancel. You can find the exact deadline that applies to you in the email or letter you received from TalkTalk.
- If you were notified more than 30 days ago, you DON'T have a right to leave penalty-free. The right to leave your contract penalty-free only applies within 30 days of getting the notification from TalkTalk. If you want to leave but you're outside this window, you can still ask TalkTalk to waive its usual early termination fees – but it wouldn't be obliged to do this.
If you're unhappy, you can get in touch with TalkTalk to discuss your options by calling 0345 172 0088 or you can submit a complaint. If TalkTalk doesn't come back to you within eight weeks of you raising the complaint, or you're not satisfied with the response you do get, you can take it to CISAS.
- Regardless of when you were notified, you can try to haggle your bills down. If you're willing to stay with TalkTalk, or you've missed the 30 day window, it could be worth trying to negotiate a discount off your monthly bill – and use the fact it's increasing prices as haggling ammunition. See our Broadband Haggling guide for tips.
What does TalkTalk say?
A spokesperson for TalkTalk said: "Over this extraordinary last year, we’ve seen broadband usage soar by 40% and we've had to invest heavily in our network as a result. Unfortunately, this has meant that, alongside other ISPs [internet service providers] such as BT, Virgin and Sky, we have had to raise our prices."
When we asked it for a specific comment on reports that some customers had been offered 'fixed' prices and guarantees, it declined to add anything further.