back to article Broadband providers almost double prices after deals end

Sneaky broadband providers are enticing punters with cheap deals only to whack them with a 43 per cent hike once the offer runs out, according to the Citizens Advice Bureau. Customers on the cheapest basic broadband deals are hit with an average price rise of £113 a year once their deal ends, with many unaware they face an …

Its a pity is so difficult to move, as you loose your phone number

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Losing phone number

No you don't. Not for the last 20 years or so anyway. I was even able to transfer a landline number to VOIP (that is a fairly recent option though)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Losing phone number

We took our phone number with us when we moved house 8 years ago. Stayed in the same area code, and decided to move our broadband contract with us to the new house, but we could still have changed provider and kept the number. My parents have changed phone provider at least twice at the same address and kept their phone number.

Same goes for mobile, it's pretty easy to get your mobile number moved to a new contract with a different provider, or even easier to get it moved to a new sim if you lose your phone.

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Just checked with John Lewis BB, BT phone number can move to them. I should hope so as their service is provided by Plusnet! Also, Plusnet works out cheaper than John lewis over the life of the contract but they do have a £35 up-front charge whereas John Lewis have no up-front charges.

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Anonymous Coward

Loyalty

Is one of the least rewarded traits these days.

Insurance is the worst for it but VM prices creep up by more than inflation each year and it's too easy to forget the mandatory "pretend you want to leave" call to reset prices to something less ruinous.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Loyalty

"the mandatory "pretend you want to leave" call to reset prices to something less ruinous"

I have found the best tactic with Virgin Media is to ask for the same which new customers are getting for the price one is paying. It may not reduce cost but at least it improves the value.

The best time to ask is when they introduce something new which highlights the discrepancy between what is paid and what new customers get for less.

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Don't people understand 'cheap deal' any more?

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It's the 'Introductory' bit that's tricky - more than 2 sylables.

Plus CAB want some more money from government, so need pointless stories like this.

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Re: It's the 'Introductory' bit that's tricky

The Beeb's headline on for the story this morning was more accurate "Broadband prices penalise loyal customers".

Seems such a stupid business model, surely what you want is customers who hang around. "Churn" is not good for any business.Typically there is a start up cost of bringing a new customer online, we got a free router. The second year on a deal should be cheaper for the supplier but for the broadband line with the intro deal this year there will be no second year since it will move to another deal with another into.

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Re: It's the 'Introductory' bit that's tricky

Not quite. All you do is phone up and moan, they soon drop the price (at least Plusnet do)

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You'd be surprised how short-term most people's thinking is.

People just don't see past the headline price, and Direct Debit means they don't need to ever think about it again, so looking at the bills and checking that you're being charged correctly is a forgotten art.

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Re: It's the 'Introductory' bit that's tricky

Lucky you. I was a PlusNet customer for 12 years and stupidly only worked out how much they were screwing me when my daughter needed broadband and I told her they were OK. I asked for the price she was signed up with, but they gave me the new customers only line. So I left and got an even better deal elsewhere. Perhaps I will return to PlusNet next time ....... if the price is right.

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Normally I'd agree that Broadband advertising is a shambles and a load of bollocks (upto..Xmbps???)

But in this case customer signed up for a introductory rate with clearly stated costs after the rate runs out and they act like it's all a surprise?

It's an introductory rate, of course it will go up.

Smacks of idiots who are incapable of taking some personal responsibility.

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upto..Xmbps

The "upto..Xmbps" can p*** people off, because the ISP will typically deliver speed which is below that, so in many ways it's a fairly meaningless measure.

However, the other day I was stopped in the street by someone from a major ISP, trying to convince me to move my business over to them. Rather than an "up to..." figure, they quoted an "at least..." figure. Got to admire their honesty, but it was a pretty rubbish sales tactic. They were promising something like 45Mbps, whereas my current provider delivers 85Mbps fairly consistently. Why, I argued, should I move my business to someone who is only guaranteeing roughly half of the performance I get now.

(Also, they were from Talk Talk, so the chances of them getting any business out of me are non-existent anyway)

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Unhappy

Re: upto..Xmbps

translate 'up to' to 'no more than'. It never means anything else.

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Re: upto..Xmbps

Not always true: I'm on Infinity, paying for up to 32Mbps and regularly getting ~36Mbps down.

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Not all that surprising

"The survey of 3,000 consumers finds broadband customers aged 65 or over are more than twice as likely than customers under 65 to have been in the same contract for more than 10 years."

People who are likely to have lived in the same place for well over 10 years are more than twice as likely not to have changed utility providers than people who may not have even had their own place for 10 years.

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Nearly all providers offer an introductory rate. So you don't sign up for an "introductory rate", you sign up with a provider who is offering an introductory rate. Most people are aware that the introductory rate will end. The distinction matters, because for those who cannot tolerate an interruption to their broadband there is not much you can do when the introductory rate ends.

I work from home everyday, I need my broadband to work in the same way a taxi driver needs a functioning car. Based on the 3 week nightmare to get BT Infinity a few years ago I really don't fancy switching providers every year.

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You Need A Business Package

@ Andrew 60 - See title. Normally better T&C and much better service, last time I had a business outage there were 2 bods at the door within half a day. Fixed and left me with a direct number of the engineer in case of further problems.

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3 week nightmare

Or you can have the new provider installed before switching off the old one...

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Mushroom

Re 3 week nightmare

"Or you can have the new provider installed before switching off the old one..."

Yeah, right.

When Skive took over BE they swapped me over to their network. And borked the router in the process. Their "Customer Service" were best described an the Emperor's new Underpants. Absolutely no technical understanding whatsoever. At least they sent me a new router by return. Ugly bloody great thing but at least I was back online. My rock solid 6 megs doubled with Skive ... but soon it was taking longer and longer to resolve websites.

I could have fiddled but ... Tough luck twats, 2 strikes and all that.

Jumped ship to Pussnet. Took a package with the phone included (that bit was just a smidgeon cheaper than Big Thief - go figure).

Changeover date agreed - check.

Might be without BB for an hour or so - check.

Paranoid me topped up a GiffGaff sim with 3 Gb for a month for the 3g dongle just in case.

Skive pulled the plug a week or so before changeover day. INCOMPETENT EVIL BASTARDS.

I NEEDED BROADBAND FOR WORK THAT WEEK YOU TWATS!

Did I call you incompetent evil bastards? I was being FAR too generous! Go rot.

Glad to be rid of the *(*&&$%%s.

The new service from Pussnet, for over a year so far, has been excellent. Mind you, the price increase after the "introductory year" was astronomical. How would the CAB put a free for the first year offer into their figures? Infinite price hike? (Btw it's still WAY below what Skive were skimming me.)

May the cloud eat the mushrooms skiving in the cloud >>

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Your insurance, gas and electricity all go up as well unless you switch. Inflationary force vs customer inertia.

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Mushroom

Car insurance seems to have actually caught up with this idea. The last few years my renewal cost have been close to the best deals I could get by shopping around.

Just 40yr to wait on the broadband guys to catch up.

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Same here, for years prices doubled even though I now have over 10 years no claims bonus, current provider has very closely matched prices to other well known brands (Still tried to charge £100 when I replaced my car and again when I moved the other side of town, a phone call later this was dropped).

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Enjoy it whilst it lasts... in my experience over the last decade it seems like insurers are happy to dish out competitive renewal quotes for a couple of years, but then sooner or later will whack you with a quote that's so far out of the ballpark it should be taken as a clear sign that they really, genuinely, no longer want your business.

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Common sense.

Not enough of it to go around these days :(

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Meh

Re: Common sense.

In my humble experience "Common Sense" is a vanishingly rare thing.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Common sense.

Common sense isn't all that common.

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Anonymous Coward

£40.99 for BT

Holy crap! You can get a decent ISP for around that.

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Facepalm

Shady dealings

Seems to be par for the course. I read my contract with my ISP and it says the price will rise by £3 p/m when my contract expires. On that date I'll be seeking a new provider. When will they learn to leave stable long-term customers alone? They could have a guaranteed income for years, but screwing people over is preferable. Same with the power providers. It must be a cartel deal because they all do it.

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Low income and older customers

Those on low income may not have credit or debit cards, nor a good credit rating, and do not want to take the risk of changing and finding the switch falls through leaving them stranded with no one willing to take them on, leaving them far worse off than they were.

Most stick with what they have; better the devil one knows. And that likely applies to older customers who will have had plenty of experience of the mismatch between reality and expectation in their lifetime.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Low income and older customers

"Those on low income may not have credit or debit cards, nor a good credit rating, and do not want to take the risk of changing and finding the switch falls through leaving them stranded with no one willing to take them on, leaving them far worse off than they were."

What fucked up country are you living in? Can't get service from an ISP without a credit/debit card? ISP doing credit checks on you? Even in thrid world ountries from Eastern Europe you only have to show, at most, an utility bill.

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Go

BT the worst, yet their stablemate PlusNet have always offered the latest deal to customers when the "cheap deal" they signed up to finishes.

OK, so you have to phone them up to apply, it isn't just a default option, but twice as the contracts been approaching renewal they've emailed a reminder.

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@Velv

I'm new to PlusNet, but I managed to squeeze an amazing full speed fibre out of them. I worked out how much will will cost me over the life of the two year deal. When that's over I'll be looking for another great deal. That'll be with PlusNet if they are willing, or whoever has the best new offer at the time. I certainly won't be going onto 'full price' after the contract has expired.

Out of curiosity, does anyone still care about landlines anymore? We had the option to keep our old number, but we declined. The new number gets pretty much zero spam calling (and we never give it out). For me, the landline/phone is an inconvenience that comes bundled with the broadband.

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Anonymous Coward

I had BB from plusnet on the BT landline for years.

I had a rethink about what I was paying on the BT service and looked to move everything to either BT or PlusNet.

BT offered everything including the kitchen sink in the package and charged accordingly.

PlusNet did just the essentials: FTTC and a landline rental for it to hang off. and charged much less.

Both offered the conversion from ASDL to FTTC as "free".

So I went PlusNet. I have no need for BT's Anti-virus package, cloud storage, call package and the other garnish. The landline is good as a backup for our mobiles (reception is not always perfect and cells can fail) and for older relatives to call us.

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Happy

These situations remind me of the guy I used to work that had a mobile phone contract with Orange. Loads of his mates were also with Orange and they all managed to get pretty good minutes/text bundles when their contracts expired by phoning up customer services and threatening to move to another provider

He tried it. The customer service agent ended his contact then and there - no offers and the following month, no mobile phone service either .... teehee.

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Anonymous Coward

I rang the Eon electricity service desk to enquire about changing my payment method to their new offer. After talking with the guy I decided it was not worth doing. A few minutes later he rang me back to say that by making the enquiry the system had automatically cancelled my existing Direct Debit instructions - and could they have my details again. They did give me something like £30 credit as compensation for their mistake though.

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Stop

Contractual revenue lock-in is probably one reason

Most ISP contracts last over a year (guaranteed regular revenue for an ISP), but after that you could instantly migrate to a new ISP, which is a revenue risk for an ISP.

I suspect that one reason why new contracts can be cheaper from the same ISP, is a sneaky way to prompt new contract lock-in, to guarantee regular revenue for a long period!

This dubious contract lock-in practice and possible later overcharging could be ended by businesses providing pay-as-you-go broadband, like for mobile and other utilities, for broadband customers who own compatible routers, especially since customers, no longer need ISPs to provide other services like web sites, email accounts etc.

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Re: Contractual revenue lock-in is probably one reason

>Most ISP contracts last over a year (guaranteed regular revenue for an ISP)

This causes another problem.

I have an 18month FTTC contract, for which I paid 1 year's line rental upfront. The catch is that the ISP won't allow me to pay another year's line rental before the 18 month contract comes up for renewal. So for the last 6 months I have to pay the new monthly line rental.

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Re: Contractual revenue lock-in is probably one reason

"I suspect that one reason why new contracts can be cheaper from the same ISP, is a sneaky way to prompt new contract lock-in, to guarantee regular revenue for a long period!"

That's exactly what it is. Try to make any change to your service level, or go for a different deal, or any tiny, minor variation in the contract, and "they" will treat it as starting a new contract with a minimum lock-in period. VM even did this with one of the "free" upgrades where instead of rolling it out as previously, you had to phone in and request it.

The business model seems to be "screw over the loyal customers and if they complain, give a slightly lower price but lock them in for another for 12-18 months because if they are complaining about prices, they are more likely to move, and that means termination penalties if they do"

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"Sneaky broadband providers are enticing punters with cheap deals only to whack them with a 43 per cent hike once the offer runs out, according to the Citizens Advice Bureau."

As long as the customers are told about the price increase before they sign up then they aren't doing anything wrong.

All cheap / introductory offers end at some point, this shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. I would certainly want to know about pricing after the offer ended.

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Anonymous Coward

The Demon brand ( since it was owned by Thus, then Vodafone) have consistently ripped off their loyal customers. First the Usenet feeds were stopped. Then the 20MB web space was withdrawn - followed by the email service. Not sure when the "push" to your own email server was discontinued.

To retain the same Demon domain name for email you had to pay another company at a "introductory" price which will probably double after 12 months. All you get is a MS Office 365 service that is slow to access via IMAP or POP3.

The price didn't change - but new users were offered 2 year contracts (by Thus) at much better rates. Asking to be put on the new tariff I was initially told there would be a £50 "reconfiguration" charge.

As a Small Business user there was promise of a bonus of a technical help line based in the UK. Under Vodafone that appears to have been outsourced to India.

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Article and 29 comments so far and not one mention of

Retentions.

Most (all?) ISPs have retention departments. Most of the telephone systems even have a dedicated option for "Thinking of leaving us".

It is possible (but not guaranteed) that you will get a better deal than you could by moving. A contract extension with you costs the ISP less than a contract setting up a new customer it makes sense for them to try to keep you but you won't get if you are not threatening to leave.

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WTF?

Re: Article and 29 comments so far and not one mention of

Retentions dept, I tried that. All I wanted was a new 21st century modem instead of the piece of shit Noah used. They refused to give me one unless I signed on for an additional 18 months. I told them that If I moved elsewhere I'd get a new modem and probably a reduced price. They wouldn't budge so I left. Then the phone calls began begging me to stay (which I didn't) They even sent me a new modem which is gathering dust in its box. I don't think these people understand business or customer relations.

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WTF?

Re: Article and 29 comments so far and not one mention of

But you would probably be signing a 12-18m contract with the new supplier, so how is this any different?

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Megaphone

Re: Article and 29 comments so far and not one mention of

The new ISP is cheaper and they don't block anything. I don't reward stupidity so I feel good. That is the difference.

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I am with plusnet and have been out of minimum contract now for over 12 months, I did look at other providers, but the amount saved it minimal once you add the connection fees in and the price they charge for posting a router to you.

Also some of the providers I do not want to use like Talk Talk, had someone from Talk Talk come to me in town yet again and told him i would not touch Talk Talk with a barge pole and then walked on. one day they will get the message.

I will keep looking, but as of yet, I have not seen anything that is better that Plusnet without being a lot more expensive.

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Des

Up to 200 Mbps, getting 60 Mbps...

I'm with Virgin Media and they offer up to 200 Mbps which is great when it works, but currently only delivering 60 Mbps due to over utilisation and this won't be rectified until October! The 60 Mbps they do provide is patchy at best and unusable for many services, i.e. I had trouble using YouTube and Deezer at the weekend. They've offered us £100 compensation for the duration, but I think it's still taking the p*** when I can't even get my VPN connected.

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Not that I'm tempted by leaving my current ISP, but every so often when I happen to see such deals I always check to see how much the price jumps when said special offer ends. It's usually quite a bit! To be honest I'd be more interested in how much such a service is going to cost normally, not on the special offer bit.

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this gouging is facilitated by direct debits. otherwise they'd have to write a letter telling you to pay more. they rip off loyal customers because they can.

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