How to haggle with your broadband provider

Thinking about haggling with your broadband provider? Here’s everything you need to know.

There are a ton of great broadband offers out there, but it can often seem like the best ones are reserved for new customers. If you’re tightening your budget or just looking for a better broadband package, it might be tempting to switch providers, but haggling with your current provider could net you major savings without the hassle of moving.

What is haggling?

Put simply, haggling is a form of negotiation between a buyer and a seller, usually over the price of a product or transaction. It’s a time-honoured tradition dating back to the dawn of commerce, and it’s still a vital part of doing business today.

Can you haggle with broadband providers?

Of course! In fact, it’s usually a good idea when your contract is coming to an end. Haggling over broadband costs is really no different than haggling over something you’d buy from a market, or the price of a used car. If you’re going to be spending money on something, why not negotiate for the best price possible?

Broadband providers are always looking to attract new customers - which is why new customers are usually offered the best deals - but it’s their existing customers that provide a steady income. It’s in your current provider’s best interests to do everything they can to keep you around, and that means they should be willing to haggle on your monthly costs.

Can you reduce broadband costs by haggling?

In most cases, customers who haggle with their broadband, TV or mobile phone network providers find that they are able to secure a better deal, and reduce their monthly bill. Despite this, recent surveys suggest that only around 50% of customers choose to give it a go.

How much can you save by haggling?

It depends, but you could stand to save a significant amount. According to a recent report by consumer organisation Which?, customers who are prepared to haggle with their provider could save more than £100 a year on their broadband bills.

Of course, this figure depends on your provider and your current costs, but it is a good indicator of how beneficial it can be to haggle.

Can you get a better deal as an existing customer?

You absolutely can - great deals aren’t reserved exclusively for new customers - but you will have to ask for one, and there are a few factors to think about.

Before you make a call to your provider, be sure to think about the length of your current contract and how near you are to the end of it. If you are already tied into a contracted monthly price, it will be more difficult to negotiate a better deal.

Can you cancel and rejoin as a new customer?

Yes, but it might not be worth the hassle. On the surface, it might seem like a good strategy to end your contract and sign up as a new customer with the same provider - taking advantage of those attractive new customer deals - but it’s likely to be more complicated than it seems.

Most broadband providers require you to have been away for a time - a few months in most cases - before you can be classed as a new customer at the same address. For that reason, it could save a lot of time and effort to simply try haggling instead.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that if your contract has already ended but you would like to return, your provider will likely be happy to offer you a good deal to tempt you back.

What is the best time to haggle with broadband providers?

The best time to haggle with broadband providers is when your contract is coming to an end. In fact, you should start looking at your options about a month or so before your end date, as some providers require a notice period to close the contract. It’s definitely worth checking your situation - you don’t want your contract to roll over unnecessarily!

If you’re part way through your contract term, it’s unlikely that you’ll have much success in negotiating a better deal - unless you’ve experienced a significant and unexpected price hike. It’s worth double-checking your situation, but most contracts have an early termination fee which could wipe out any potential savings from switching, and providers will be well aware of that going into the conversation.

Of course, if you’re on a one-month rolling contract, this doesn’t apply. You’re free to haggle over a better deal at any time.

Pros and cons of haggling

With all of that in mind, let’s quickly recap the potential benefits and drawbacks of attempting to haggle with your broadband provider.

You could save a lot of money on your monthly contractHaggling is only really an option at the right time - near the end of your contract
You could negotiate a better broadband package at a reduced costHaggling can only be done over the phone and requires speaking one-on-one with an agent
You could negotiate to have installation, equipment rental or early termination fees waivedSome providers may not be open to negotiation, or may not be able to offer substantial discounts.
You could better tailor your broadband package to suit your needsIn rare cases, changing plans or applying new discounts could inadvertently lead to issues with billing or service continuity.
You could gain a better understanding of the deals that are out there, and if it’s worth switchingSome providers may only be able to offer temporary promotional discounts that will eventually expire and revert to a higher price.


How to haggle with your broadband provider - step by step

Our step-by-step guide will tell you everything you need to know to get started haggling with your broadband provider.

Step 1 - Find the right time

As we’ve already covered, haggling with your provider is only really effective when your contract is coming to an end. For that reason, it’s a good idea to wait until the time is right.

Although, having said that, it might be a good idea to start the conversation early as, in the event you do end up switching, some providers have long notice periods when ending contracts.

Step 2 - Do your homework

It’s always a good idea to be well informed before entering into any kind of negotiation. Take a look at the deals your broadband provider is offering to new customers, and the packages and prices that rival companies are offering.

Going in with an idea of the current landscape will not only give you a better idea of what you should be aiming for, but it will also help you to argue your case. “I can get the same speeds for £10 a month less at Sky” is much stronger than simply asking “Can you go any lower?”

Step 3 - Speak to the right person

When you call, say you’re thinking of leaving or would like to speak to someone about ending your contract. You should be put through to the customer retention team (although they might be called something like Disconnections).

These are the agents you want to be speaking to, as they have a vested interest in doing what they can to keep your business, and have the power to offer the best deals.

Step 4 - Strike the right tone

Keep things civil while speaking to agents - be firm and confident, but polite. Being a little cheeky is fine - you won’t know if a price is possible if you don’t ask - but aggression will get you nowhere.

Remember that you are asking for a discount, and the provider is well within their rights to say no.

Step 5 - Keep trying

To begin with, the agent may only offer a small discount, but be persistent. Use phrases like ‘it’s still a lot of money’, or ‘I’m on a budget and the best I can do is £XX’. Keep in mind the deals you researched before making the call, and the prices on offer to new customers.

If you aren’t successful in your first attempt, there’s nothing to stop you trying again. You may have caught the agent on an off day, or at a time when they are unable to hand out the best deals. Whatever the reason, you might have more luck speaking to someone else.

Be persistent - but not aggressive - and if after a few more tries you’ve still had no luck, it might be time to seriously consider switching to another provider.

How to haggle with Sky

To start haggling with Sky, you’ll need to call the main customer service line on 0333 759 0511. You’ll have to answer various questions before getting through, and if you’re still in contract then the automated system will let you know.

Alternatively, if you’d just like to speak to someone about upgrading your broadband package, call our dedicated team on 0330 221 9430 or check out our comprehensive guide to see every Sky contact number.

How to haggle with Virgin

To start haggling with Virgin, you’ll need to call the main customer service line on 0345 454 1111. You’ll need to press 1 for TV and broadband queries and then go through the automated system. You can speed things up a little by having your account number or Virgin home phone number handy.

Alternatively, if you’re not currently with Virgin and would like to speak to someone about prices and packages, call our dedicated team on 0330 221 4025 or check out our guide to see every Virgin contact number.

How to haggle with TalkTalk

To haggle with TalkTalk, call their main customer service line on 0345 172 0088. Alternatively, if you’re not currently with TalkTalk and would like to speak to someone about available packages and prices, call our dedicated number on 0333 188 9318 to speak to an advisor, or check out our guide to every TalkTalk contact number.

Switching broadband providers

If you’ve given haggling a go and are still not satisfied with your bills and level of service, it might be time to seriously think about switching.

Take a look at our roundup of the best broadband deals right now to find a package that’s right for you.

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