Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

The MoneySaving Forum: join to chat & swap tips with other MoneySavers. Learn how in the Forum Introduction Guide

Haggle with Sky, AA & more

The top 10 firms to haggle with

Get Our Free Money Tips Email!

For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes - join the 12m who get it. Don't miss out

Marcel | Edited by Steve N

Updated December 2017

The best prices are usually reserved for new customers, so existing customers lose out on cracking deals. If you're willing to take the haggle challenge, you could slash bills for mobile, TV, broadband, breakdown and more.

This step-by-step guide includes the top 10 service companies to haggle with, sector-by-sector tips and how to access companies' hidden deals departments. Our recent poll showed a huge 90% of those who haggled with the AA were successful, as were 87% of those who haggled with the RAC and 86% who haggled with Sky.

The top 10 service companies to haggle with

When it comes to haggling, don't think it's limited to backstreet bazaars. Big savings are available in the UK on contracts for phones, mobiles, TV, broadband, car insurance and much more.

More often than not, the best deals are reserved for new customers. Switching apathy and brand loyalty means customers often remain on contracts which are more expensive than those for newbies.

This is because most people already have contracts for mobile, TV, home phone and broadband. So the firms providing these services need to tempt customers from other companies with new, cheaper deals to expand their businesses.

Loyal customers are corporate manna from heaven. Companies love them, as they stay with them through thick 'n' thin, paying full price and never checking if their deal is competitive or can be beaten.

This lets them rake in regular, guaranteed, easy profit. So ask yourself a question: do you want to be a customer whose business is fought for, or one who's taken for granted? If you don't want to be taken for granted, take the haggle challenge.

In a nutshell, call up and ask for a better deal. Say you're paying too much or rivals' deals are cheaper. If that doesn't work, tell them you're leaving. You'll usually get put through to companies' super-powerful hidden deals departments.

Who to haggle with

In our November 2017 poll, over 9,000 votes were cast on which firms MoneySavers have tried to haggle with in the last year and how they got on. Hagglers revealed over 80% success rates with big-name companies like the AA, Admiral, the RAC and Sky.

The top 10 UK service companies to haggle with
Provider No success Small success Big success Total success rate
1. AA (510 votes) 10% 32% 58% 90%
2. RAC (264 votes) 13% 37% 50% 87%
3. Sky (1,704 votes) 14% 30% 56% 86%
4. Admiral (292 votes) 18% 41% 41% 82%
5. EE (451 votes) 20% 36% 44% 80%
6. Virgin Media (629 votes) 21% 41% 38% 79%
7. AA Insurance (124 votes) 21% 41% 38% 79%
8. Vodafone (271 votes) 23% 32% 45% 77%
9. Plusnet (189 votes) 23% 41% 36% 77%
10. Three (234 votes) 25% 44% 31% 75%
Only companies with 100+ votes have been included. Poll carried out in November 2017 - see full results.

How big can the savings be?

All it takes is a quick phone call and you could be quids in. If you need some inspiration, here's a handful of the many successes you've told us about.

Please let us know how you get on via the forum, or you can email or tweet @MoneySavingExp with your success stories.

I found I could get fibre, plus TV including most of my Sky channels, from BT for not much more than my Sky TV alone. After threatening to leave Sky, they matched my ending Plusnet broadband deal AND discounted the TV – result! MSE saved me almost 30 quid a month! - Carole

I should be Mrs Martin Lewis; I got my Sky reduced by 32%, home insurance reduced by 53% and just now my Npower reduced by 55%! - @linzi82scorpio

The price of my cover kept going through the roof until it hit £240+, so I phoned RAC and said it was way too expensive and might leave. After rejecting the revised offer the price was finally slashed to £100, and the package was upgraded too. - forumite Alan the Anonymous

I've just had success with O2. I probably spent three hours on the phone to them. I managed to get a free iPhone 5S and a cheaper monthly contract with a lot more data. I've saved myself £80 on the upfront cost and £5 per month. - forumite Kiely124

Benchmark the best deal

Haggling for a discount on your monthly contracts can be daunting, even for hardened MoneySavers. But honestly, as long as you do it right, there's nothing to be scared of.

But, while the 'haggling for a better deal' route works for some areas, simply ditching and switching is best for others. Here we run through the hottest areas to haggle on, with full sector-by-sector tips on accessing hidden deals.

Sector-by-sector tips – everything you need to know for seriously hot haggling

TV – Seriously hot haggling

Magic can happen if you haggle with existing TV providers. Read more

Broadband and home phone – Red hot haggling

Haggling a discount on your broadband and home phone is one of the easiest ways to cut costs. Read more

Mobile phones – Hot for haggling on contracts, cold for PAYG

Haggling on monthly mobile phone contracts can slash the price you pay. Read more

Breakdown cover – Haggle your heart out or ditch and switch

Haggling for a reduction is one of the quickest and easiest ways to cut breakdown cover costs. Read more

Car and home insurance – Haggle with care

Haggling on car and home insurance is far better than just auto-renewing – your insurer will often beat its own original renewal price. Read more

Credit cards – Haggling works but new deals are usually far better

Credit card companies aren't quite as locked down on rates as you may think. Read more

The powerhouse technique: Tell 'em you want to leave

If you're coming to the end of your contract, or are out of it, then you're wielding a powerhouse weapon: customer loyalty. Companies desperately want to keep you, so if they believe they will lose you, you can often get much better deals.

The most important thing to understand is this:

The 'disconnections department' is usually internally called 'customer retentions'. It's their job to stop you from leaving – so they have huge deal-making power to keep you.

So whether you're dealing with broadband, mobile phone, TV or any other service, the company involved usually has this secret, super-powerful department. And the holy grail of haggling is to deal with customer retentions rather than normal customer services.

Tell them you're going to leave

If you don't get the deal you want from customer services, the key to getting to customer retentions is telling them you are considering leaving. Of course, we don't want you to lie. But if you don't get a good enough deal, you should genuinely consider ditching and switching.

Once connected, repeat your request. The more genuine you are about disconnecting, the greater the chance you'll get a better offer, matching the market's best tariffs.

Quick questions

What if they just say 'OK, we'll disconnect you'?

If I don't get a good deal, can I try again?

Martin's haggling success story

This is Martin's success story from a few years ago with the Orange mobile network (now EE) – but the same haggling principles still apply.

I'm an Orange contract customer, and want to stay one, as the connection at home and work is good, and the month-long switching hassle's worth avoiding. But Orange's packages aren't the market's cheapest.

Read more on how Martin haggled a better deal

Haggling tips to boost your chances

Read these handy haggling tips for a few extra pointers:

  • 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 within their rights not to give it to you, as you are to leave.

    You can hear if someone's smiling, even on the phone. Haggling's all about charm and chutzpah. You're dealing with a human being, with discretion, so utilise that to win them over. As forumite anitalg (who works in an independent mobile phone shop) says:

    Best advice I can give is be really, really friendly and nice, and a little bit cheeky – I always give a better deal to people I get on with and have a chat with. - Anitalg

  • Problems mean discounts

    If you've had issues with the company (slow broadband speed, poor mobile network coverage, wrong payments taken), mention this politely.

    They should want to try and make it up to you. Then again, are you sure you want to stay? Let the person you're dealing with know that you're genuine about wanting to leave and they may offer you a deal to compensate for the past issues.

  • Time it right

    Call centres are more amenable to haggling at slower times of the year, when fewer customers are after their wares.

    It's one of the reasons November and December are the perfect months to buy home insurance and car insurance. Insurers aren't busy, they want business, you're giving them business: expect a discount.

    The end of the month or end of a financial quarter is always a good time to haggle too. If a salesperson hasn't met their targets, they may do anything to get those extra sign-ups (including knocking a few quid off here and there).

    See the Great 'Best Time To Haggle' Hunt for more suggestions on when it's best to try and haggle.

  • It's all about getting to the retentions department

    Most frontline call centre staff are there to process standard administration requests, not to negotiate. So ask them for the deal you want, but if they can't deliver don't think the story's over.

    The real powerhouse technique is to get put through to 'disconnections, a department which is usually internally called 'customer retentions', as it's their job to keep hold of you. This team generally has much stronger deal-making ability than customer services.

    Therefore a simple 'sorry, but in that case I think I may need to leave', can pay dividends. We're not suggesting you lie; but if your deal isn't good enough, do genuinely consider going elsewhere. Once at disconnections, repeat your request and the haggling can start for real.

  • Use the phrases that pay

    If you're nervous, remember all you're doing is asking for a better price because you think it's too expensive. Some standard phrases may help...

    • 'I've worked out my monthly budget, and my absolute max is £[insert price here]/month.'

    • 'Virgin/TalkTalk/the RAC/[insert name of rival company here] 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?'

    These will give you a bit of time to consider their offer. And remember – don't say yes to the first offer they give you, unless it's what you wanted.

  • Ask to speak to a supervisor

    Sometimes customer service representatives say they're not allowed to give discounts. If this is the case, ask whether you can have a chat with their supervisor. A supervisor should have more authority, and will be used to haggling with customers.

  • Don't say 'yes' to the first offer they give

    You should never say 'yes' to the first offer they give, because the chances are, it's not all the provider can do.

  • Get deal prices when offers have finished

    If there was a promo on, but it's ended, you know they're willing to accept that price. For example, if a TV company was offering customers 50% off last week, chances are that price could be available after the offer too. It never hurts to ask.

  • Don't fill in the silence

    They may say it's a '24-hour deal' or a 'limited-time offer'. Don't listen to this if you think your provider can do better.

    If they want your business (which they will do), they'll call you back in a few days asking if you want to take up the offer. At this point, say no, it's still too expensive. They should then cut it further, hopefully much nearer to your target price.

    As negotiations come to a close, a classic salesperson technique is staying silent. They want you to accept the price just to fill the awkward silence. Make them fill it with a cheaper offer.

  • If it doesn't work once, you can try again

    We've been informed by former call centre operatives that they had daily discount quotas in customer retentions. This is only anecdotal, so we can't guarantee it's true, but it does mean you may find refusal one day turns into a good offer the next.

  • Added extras are equivalent to a discount

    If they can't drop the price, see if they can throw in any extras (free calls, free router, extra six months warranty, etc). Take this breakdown cover success story:

    Just called AA to cancel my renewal as last year's £30 membership came through at £43 to renew. When, after the spiel, I said I still wanted to leave, he offered me roadside assistance for a year, with one call out, for £15, which I happily accepted. - forumite Madjen18

  • Ask for the sun and you may get the moon

    Remember, do it with humour, do it with style and there's no price or suggestion too outrageous. You can haggle virtually anywhere for anything.

Get Our Free Money Tips Email!

For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes - join the 12m who get it. Don't miss out