A CLEVER tip from Martin Lewis has helped a money saver knock £849 a year off an essential household bill.
The fan, called Tim followed the advice and explained how he did it in this week’s MoneySavingExpert (MSE) newsletter.
Martin Lewis has encouraged people to haggle on their bills
He told MSE that he had followed Martin’s haggle tips in a bid to cut costs on his Virgin Media bill.
He said: “I get all my media stuff through Virgin Media, but as I’m a sports fan we have a complete £136 a month package.
“This was set to rise to £157. After an hour or so, I managed to reduce the bill to £86.25 with an upgrade to HD sports and no increase.
“Thank you for reminding me to haggle.”
The tip comes just weeks after the telecoms company announced it will increase prices for millions of customers.
BT, EE and Three all announced mid-contract price hikes in recent weeks too.
Many telecoms providers increase their prices annually based on the rate of inflation plus an extra 3.9%.
The current rate of inflation sits at 10.5%, so most bills will rise by 14.4% – however not all companies follow it exactly, so make sure you’ve checked what your provider is doing.
Most customers will see their bills increase from April 1, though some customers will have already seen an increase.
Customers still within their contract, or at least still within their minimum term, can’t do much about the hikes, though it’s always worth haggling.
If you’re out of contract you might not need to pay the higher price.
But you could be paying more than you need to as a new deal is usually cheaper.
How to haggle for a cheaper deal
If you think your bills are too high and want to reduce them, the first thing to do is find out what the cheapest deal on the market is.
You can use this rate as a bargaining tool to get a better offer from your provider.
Get in contact with your provider to see if they can match this rate – if not, you might want to switch instead.
If you’re mid-contract though and wish to leave, bear in mind that you could face an exit fee so check with your provider for any charges.
Virgin Media customers unhappy about the bill rise have the right to cancel mid-contract without a fee, within 30 days of being notified about the change.
Plus, it could be harder haggling with these prices as they come most years from all providers.
Make sure you do your homework.
Whether it’s car insurance or a TV package, compare deals across the market then, once you’ve found the cheapest one, use this to boost your bargaining power.
Try price-comparison sites such as Moneysupermarket, GoCompare, and Compare The Market.
Companies also usually have a customer retention department so it’s important to know who to speak to.
You’ll probably be put through to them if you’ve threatened to leave.
They have the power to offer the best deals and discounts.
You can even ask yourself to be put through to these people, if it is not offered.
Just explain that you have been shopping around and are willing to walk away if you’re not given the deal you want, or get particular extras thrown in such as TV channels or cashback.
For more ways to cut your phone bill, we’ve got eight tips for slashing costs.
How much will my bill increase by?
Your internet provider or mobile network should contact you to let you know how much your bills will increase in April.
If you’re an BT, EE, Plusnet or Three customer, there’s an easy way to work out how much more you’re set to pay from April.
Just find out what 14.4% of your current monthly bill is – you can use an online percentage calculator to work that out.
If you’re a Virgin customer you’ll need to use 13.8% instead, though remember this is an average rise.
Then add those two figures together – this will give you your new monthly payment.
To find out your annual cost, times that total figure by 12.