Sky TV customers have recently been hit with price hikes pushing annual bills up by up to £54/year. But whether you want to beat the hikes or are just trying to get a better deal, we explain how to haggle to cut costs.
The TV giant pushed up prices for most of its millions of TV customers on 1 June 2015. All customers who joined after 1 September 2014 were affected, even if they were still in contract. Anyone who signed up before this date and was no longer in contract also faced a hike.
If you're a Sky TV customer then the amount your bill went up by depended on what package you had.
For example, if you had the Family Bundle (up by £3/month) as well as Sky Movies and Sky Sports (up by £1.50/month), you'd pay £4.50/month extra – so, a rise of £54/year. (For more details on this, see the MSE News story, Sky TV customers to be hit with price hikes.)
You can beat the hikes!
Update: 4 August 2015. Since we first launched the guide in April, we've been swamped with successes from people who tried it. We've been contacted by dozens of savvy MoneySavers who have been putting our tips to good use to cut the cost of Sky TV.
- "I spoke to Sky re the pending £4.50 increase and got £20 a month reduction for 10 months - I was firm but polite, thanks to MSE :)" - Andy Davidson
- "I phone Sky re £4.50 price increase and negotiated a £10 a month decrease for being a loyal customer for 16 years." - Andrew Robertson
- "I just rang Sky and got the top package and multi-room down by £20 per month for 10 months." - Lisa Devitt
- "I got £25/mth off for 10 months." - @Clank_1 tweets
- "I saved almost 50%." - @JamiePover tweets
- "Phoned up and in 10 mins it'd knocked £134 off my bill. No change to services or terms. Thank you!" - @MJEsongs
In fact, our users regularly vote Sky as among the easiest firms to haggle with. In our most recent poll, in November last year, 86% of respondents said they successfully haggled their Sky price down.
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How do you do it?
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 then you could beat a price hike. Here are our top 13 tips to haggle with Sky. For more, see our guide on how to haggle with Sky, the AA and more.
- Do a channel audit. Work out what you really watch on Sky and ditch the rest. There's no point in paying for access to channels you don't watch.
- Timing is crucial. Haggling works best when you're near or beyond the end of your contract. There's no harm in giving it a try when you're not, if you struggle then diarise when you're nearing the end (you can give Sky notice of leaving 31 days before the end of your contract) and call back then.
- Benchmark the best deal. It's important to have the factual arsenal. Research the deals, discounts and codes that Sky and its competitors are offering to act as a basis for negotiation, including those in MSE's Big Broadband Switch Event - you're unlikely to get a deal that strong by haggling, but it shows what room there is. Our Digital TV Deals guide has more best buys, and sign up to our weekly email to get the latest offers.
- Get through to the retention department. If you're coming to the end of your contract, or are out of it, then you're wielding a powerhouse weapon: customer loyalty. Tell them you're going to leave. The customer service person should put you through to the 'customer retentions' department – aka the holy grail of haggling.
- 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.
- Use the phrases that pay. You may find that your Sky customer service rep will only offer a small discount at first, but if you don't agree with the price use phrases like:
- I've worked out my monthly budget, and my absolute max is £[insert price here]/month
- [TalkTalk/Virgin/BT] can do it for less...
- I need to think about it...
- I think my husband / wife 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/Aunt Fanny first."
- Problems mean discounts. If you've had issues with Sky in the past - slow broadband, long customer call waiting times - then politely tell them when you haggle. 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', don't feel pressured into agreeing to the new price or deal unless you're certain. As negotiations come to a close, a classic salesman 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, see if they can include any extras, like free calls or extra channels.
- If you fail? Try, try and try again. While unconfirmed, we hear rumours that different staff members have quotas of how many deals they can do. Even if not true, it 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.
- Vote with your feet. If you don't get what you want then you should seriously consider leaving. Use our Digital TV deals guide to find the best one for you.
Also watch Martin's How to Haggle video for more inspiration.
While this article was originally published on 28 April 2015 and the price hikes have now taken effect, you can still haggle to beat them using the tips above.