Plusnet has warned customers that it's increasing many broadband contract prices by £12 a year in June and call costs will be going up too - here's how to fight back.
The provider has said many broadband customers will see a £1 price rise on their monthly bill from 5 June this year, and is currently contacting customers via email about the changes, or by post if they get paper bills.
It has confirmed that affected customers will be able to leave their contract penalty-free. Plusnet last increased prices in June 2017.
If you're a Plusnet customer - or with any other firm - check if you can find a cheaper deal by comparing broadband via our Broadband Unbundled tool.
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How are prices changing?
Plusnet is increasing the following broadband packages by £1 a month:
- Plusnet Essentials
- Plusnet Essentials Fibre
- Plusnet Extra
- Plusnet Extra Fibre
- Plusnet Unlimited
- Plusnet Unlimited Fibre
- Plusnet Value
- Plusnet Value Fibre
- Unlimited Fibre
- Unlimited Fibre Extra
The changes will apply if you signed up to Plusnet before 4 March, or if you signed up after this date and re-contract or switch broadband offers before 5 June.
Plusnet is also increasing some out-of-allowance call costs:
- The call set up fee will increase by 1p to 22p per minute.
- The standard rate for calls to UK landlines will increase from 12.54p per minute to 13.5p per minute.
- Calls to mobiles will increase from 14.65p per minute to 15p per minute.
As the price rises kick in, users will also be given Plusnet's Caller Display system, which lets you see who is calling you, for free - it previously cost 99p per month. You can pre-register for free Caller Display now to have it added to your account from 5 June.
If you currently pay for this call feature your bill will be reduced.
Early termination fees for some of Plusnet's broadband products are also changing, but if the price of your service has increased, you can leave penalty free at the moment anyway. See the full list of changes.
The monthly line rental charge of £18.99 a month will remain the same, and mobile customers will see no change if they're on a Sim only price plan.
How to beat the hikes 1 – escape your contract penalty-free
Plusnet has said that where it has put up prices on broadband, customers will be able to leave without penalty if they let it know within 30 days of receiving its notification.
Bear in mind that providers across the board have been hiking prices so there's little point simply leaving because you're annoyed.
But if you can find a cheaper deal elsewhere (compare broadband with our Broadband Unbundled tool or see our Cheap Broadband guide for help), the good news is if you're affected by the hikes you WILL be able to escape your Plusnet contract penalty-free.
How to beat the hikes 2 – haggle, haggle, haggle
If you're willing to stick with Plusnet, this is a major chance to haggle a much better deal – especially as you'll have the right to leave penalty-free if it doesn't give you one.
See our Haggle with Plusnet guide for detailed tips, but for starters here are a few...
- Benchmark the best deal elsewhere so you ask for a realistic discount.
- Get through to the retentions (sometimes called disconnections) department. They have the most power to slash costs, as their job is to keep you.
- Use charm and be 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 Plusnet in the past – eg, slow broadband – politely tell it when you haggle.
- Never go with the first offer. Chances are, it's not the best deal. Remember, be firm.
- The salesperson may push you to agree because it's a 'limited-time offer' – don't feel pressured into agreeing to the new price or deal unless you're certain.
- Vote with your feet. If you don't get what you want you should seriously consider leaving.
What if I have Plusnet's Line Rental Saver?
Plusnet customers can pay for 12 months line rental in advance and at the moment save £30 a year, compared to Plusnet's standard line rental charge.
If you've taken the Line Rental Saver, and now, as a result of the price rises, wish to leave Plusnet you will be refunded for the remaining months that you haven't used your Line Rental Saver.
What if I have Plusnet's free broadband deal?
If you have Plusnet's free broadband, you will be charged £1 a month for your broadband from 5 June, unless your contract is price protected.
If you have free broadband and your price is set to go up to £1 a month, you can leave penalty-free, but if it's price protected, you can't, as your broadband will continue to be free.
What does Plusnet say?
A Plusnet spokesperson said: "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 continued to win awards for our customer services and our great value products and we promise we'll continue to do you proud.
"Investing in our customer service to make sure we're available to answer your calls or chats at our UK call centres is a priority for us. We'll soon be expanding one of our UK sites to make sure we're on hand when you need us the most."