How to haggle for a better broadband deal

Wednesday, 20 December, 2017

It isn’t always easy being a loyal customer. When the honeymoon period is over between you and your ISP, the bills start going up and all the discounts you’ve been enjoying are handed over to their fresh new customers instead.

Unfortunately, loyalty is rarely rewarded when it comes to broadband, and internet service providers (ISPs) will gladly make you overpay for sticking with them through the years.

The easiest thing to do in this situation is to simply switch providers and enjoy all the benefits of being someone else’s new customer.

However, if you’re happy with your service and don’t want to switch ISP, there is still a way to cut money off your bills: haggling.

Haggling can be a daunting prospect for many people, and it’s something that rarely comes up in the day-to-day for most of us. Luckily, with a little preparation and guidance, even the most rookie haggler can save big money on broadband.

What you can get through haggling:

  • Cheaper monthly bills
  • Free extra services
  • Extended deals or money off upgrades
  • Discounted bundles on TV, landline and mobile packages
  • Vouchers or gift cards

Before you make the call to your ISP, make sure you’re fully prepared by working out the following things:

What you currently pay, in detail

Make sure you have your most up-to-date bill with a complete breakdown of exactly what you’re paying for; broadband, calls, line rental, and any bundled packages you might have included.

What other ISPs are offering

Compile a small list of deals from other ISPs that are cheaper than what you’re currently paying. Make sure to look for deals that have comparable download caps and speeds, and ensure that they are available in your area.

What speeds you’re currently getting and what speeds you were promised

This can be a powerful tool in your haggling arsenal, so it’s important to get accurate information on your download speeds.

There are dozens of quality speed checkers available online, but our in-house tool and Ookla Speedtest come highly recommended. You’ll want to take tests at both peak times and off-peak times, so perform a test in the morning and another in the evening every day for about a week.

What your ISP is offering new customers

If your ISP can afford to offer cheap prices for their new customers, why can’t they give it to you? Customer service is going to have a difficult time answering that question, so it’s often easier to just give you a discount instead.

How to haggle

Once you have completed the preparation, it’s time to make the call to your ISP. A bit of the silver tongue can go a long way here, so here’s some tips for dealing with the person on the other end of the phone:

Be up front and clear about your issue

Don’t be afraid to tell customer service up front that your ISP is making broadband too expensive, and there are better deals elsewhere. Ask them if they can do anything about this. Be specific: are you not getting the speeds you’re paying for? Has your bill recently hiked up in price? Set the tone of the negotiation right from the get go.

Be polite

The person answering your call is not your enemy, so don’t take your frustrations with your ISP out on them. They will usually be much more willing to work with you if you communicate in a calm and non-combative manner. You can be an unhappy customer without being a rude one.

Don’t frontload

The evidence gathered in preparation is best served out in small, manageable pieces. You don’t want to play out your hand too early, so it’s best to keep your best arguments for last.

Give them an example of a better deal elsewhere and wait for them to make a counter offer. Then give them two examples of better deals elsewhere and wait for a response.

You can go back and forth like this until you run out of points. This is why preparation is important before you call – the more evidence you have, the longer you can keep the negotiation going.

Be prepared to switch provider

If your haggling fails, or you can’t reach a deal you’re happy with, let your ISP know you mean business and switch as soon as possible. This way, if you ever go back to them in the future, they’ll know to to a little harder to maintain your loyalty.

You can use our postcode checker below to find the cheapest deals in your area – either to use to bargain with your ISP, or to simply switch to a better deal the easy way.

MAIN IMAGE: MLazarevski/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0

Samuel Newman author picture


Samuel Newman is a consumer journalist and blogger based in Sheffield.