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Have you haggled with your telecoms provider?

haggling for a deal

Over the years, we’ve shown you the huge savings you can make by haggling with telecoms providers. And our most recent survey reveals that more people than ever are doing it.

When I saved almost two thirds on my broadband bill a few years, I became a haggling convert.

At first, it may seem daunting to haggle with a telecoms Goliath, but more often than not us Davids come out on top.

And while we can give you loads of advice on how to haggle with your provider, I did it completely by accident.

Accidental haggler

In our student flat at university, we’d been on an introductory offer for our broadband. But when our ‘pay only line rental for the first 12 months’ deal was about to run out and our bills were set to rise (the same reason a third of those surveyed gave for haggling), I began to shop around for what other providers were offering new customers.

I didn’t even think to barter with my current provider.

Having found a deal for a similar price, I set the wheels in motion to switch and rang my current provider simply to tell it I was leaving.

‘What is the other provider offering?,’ I was promptly asked. ‘We can match it.’

But with no saving actually on offer, the idea of calling the provider I was switching to in order to tell it that I wouldn’t be switching after all seemed more hassle than it was worth.

The saleswoman, or ominously named ‘termination agent’, as they’re often known, had met her match – a student whose sheer laziness meant he would rather allow the switch to go ahead than make another five-minute phone call.

Clearly irked, off she went to speak to her manager.

‘We can offer you free line rental,’ she told me on her return.

So our bill would drop to a mere £7.50 a month, about a third of our original £20 or so bill – a yearly saving of £150. Sometimes it pays to be lazy…

Making a saving

You may think that my experience of haggling is a freak event – merely a lucky break to save so much money over the course of the year. But to many who’ve haggled, it will be a familiar story.

We found that, on average, hagglers saved £156 on their annual telecoms bills, with a total of nine out of 10 being offered a discount.

If you’ve never haggled with your service providers – be it for car insurance, energy bills or your pay-TV subscription – you can find out more about how to get the best deal in our guide.

By actually starting the process of leaving, I went further than necessary – in most cases, the threat of changing provider, even if you don’t actually mean it, will be enough for your provider to offer you a deal.

Have you ever haggled with a telecomms provider? If so, how much did you save and how easy did you find it?


The problem with haggling is that it pushes up prices for those who are unable to haggle.

If you need an expensive car or a yacht, haggle away, but when haggling over essential goods and services, spare a thought for the poor and vulnerable who might not be able to haggle.

I’m a ‘Haggler’, I first check the best prices online, at the end of a contract, then, when I get a result, in paying less, I give my previous supplier, whether it’s fuel, internet, telephone, or any insurance, I then give them the chance to equal, or better it, failing that, I go elsewhere.

Being, as not everyone that I know, will haggle either for a yacht or high end car, they are haggling to make ends meet, with everyday products.

I would think that you must accept that businesses tend to push up prices, irrespective of haggling or not.
One only needs to look at the price of Marmite jumping up, there was no need, the ‘Watchers said’, as it was nothing to do with leaving the EU, as the products used were farmed and sourced in the UK, does that sound like haggling created the price rise. ‘No’, it was not, it was gross profiteering. The only people who haggled were ‘Tesco’s’, and they boycotted it for a short period, so, we must all be aware, that all businesses need customers, without them they hit the wall.
Look what happened to GB Energy, they pumped their price up, overnight, then, most people voted with their feet, and went elsewhere, I was included in that exodus.
I was not overjoyed to see a small business hit the wall, but, businesses are dictated to, by their shareholders, who in turn are looking for the biggest profit for their investment.

We live in a competitive world, so, I’m afraid it’s up to the individual to do what they consider the best thing, within their circumstances.

For landlines, getting people on the correct callplan is more important than knocking a couple of quid off the line rental.

If you are on a weekend call plan and paying 19p per call plus 11p per minute for weekday calls, you will soon be spending far more than if you had the unlimited anytime call plan.

Getting a deal where the inclusive allowance covers all of your calls to landline numbers, 03 numbers and mobile numbers will win out in the end.

I’ve just had a run in with TalkTalk, one improvement I noticed was an on-line chat bubble. Much improved means of communication given some of the strange accents you’d get from their Indian call centre. For the last year I had automatically filed all e-mails from talktalk into it’s own file never bothering to read them. I knew these were monthly bills. It was only when I overheard a conversation decrying the extortionate price increase I looked at my e-mail file and got a shock. All my bills up until Januawhich I ry 16 were in the region of £29 per month. That was for fibre broadband, and unlimited anytime calls within the UK. When I started the chat I was immediately offered internet TV probably would never use. I then was offered for a new contractual period of 18 months. TV, highest speed broadband, super safe boost security, all with unlimited anytime calls for £35 a month. I accepted.

Chat Start Time Sep 28 2016, 09:41:45 PM
Chat End Time Sep 28 2016, 11:43:40 PM
Duration (actual chatting time) 02:01:55
info: Welcome to O2, someone will be with you soon.
info: You are through to OP1
OP1: Hi my name is OP1, how may I help?
ALFA: Hi, I would like a PAC Code please.
OP1: Alright. Can I just confirm your full name & mobile number you’re contacting us about?
ALFA: My name is ………….
OP1: Thank you. Just to confirm, are you the account holder?
ALFA: yes
OP1: May I know the reason your looking for this change?
ALFA: Better deal.
OP1: Okay.Can you tell me the 1st and 3rd characters of your security answer please?
ALFA: ……..
OP1: perfect! PAC code will be valid for 30 days,and if you don’t use it within the 30 days, your account will remain active. If it expires you need to take the fresh PAC code.
ALFA: ok
OP1: Alfa, let me just check with the account. Thanks for waiting. I’ll get you connected to our team, they will help you with the PAC code. thanks for your time.
ALFA: Thank you
OP1: you’re welcome.
info: You have been transferred to queue Recontract
OP2: Hi my name is OP2. Please give me a moment to read your previous chat.
ALFA: hi
OP2: Thanks for waiting. Alfa, I’ll help you to get the PAC
ALFA: ok
OP2: Before that lets re-confirm that you are the account holder, Correct?
ALFA: yes
OP2: Thanks for confirming. Alfa, I do understand that you are getting a better deal and that’s the reason you wish to leave us and get the PAC
ALFA: yes
OP2: And I understand that money is really precious and we all try to save as much as we can. However Alfa, You’ve been a loyal customer to us since a long time and we really appreciate your loyalty with us. We really wish to help you get a suitable deal so we’d really request you to give us a chance so that we can help you out
ALFA: I have already tried
OP2: May I know the deal which you are getting so that I can try to get a same deal or at least try to get something close to it. Alfa one chance more please?
ALFA: unlimited minutes, data & text for £20 a month with no contract
OP2: Trust me I’ll try my best. Alfa thanks for the info. May I know with which provider you are getting the deal?
ALFA: giffgaff
OP2: All right. Alfa we really appreciate that
ALFA: If you match it, I will stay
OP2: I do understand. Alfa I really wish to get a special deal for you today. I wish to offer you a deal where you dont have to pay bills for next 10 months. Its a £15.00. a month for unlimited mins & texts and 1GB 4G data + UNLIMITED O2 UK WIFI. Its a standard 24 months deal. You can keep the same sim card and keep the same number. I’ll raise a credit of £150.00. on your account now. So you dont have to pay for your phone bills for next 10 months. The deal which I’ve offered you is a special deal and a special tariff. And its just because you’ve been a loyal customer to us And considering the average usage we’ve offered you a allowance where you dont have to worry at all.
ALFA: I don’t want a contract
OP2: Alfa I do understand your concern. But its a 24 months deal where you dont have to pay anything for next 10 months. And you can source the handset directly from where ever you want. And you can use the sim card. So save £150.00. on your phone bills Alfa. And if suppose in next few months your requirements increase in relation with the allowances so you can contact us and increase the tariff. We are offering you a complete flexibility over the term of contract
ALFA: I have a problem with mobile signal here, that might be better with a new phone, but I don’t want a contract in case the signal is just as bad.
OP2: I’ll check that for you. Can you confirm your post code please?
ALFA: ………
OP2: And I’ve checked the coverage in your area. And it seems you can get 2G, 3G and 4G coverage in your area. You can check O2’s coverage in your area via http://www.o2.co.uk/coveragechecker. I agree that you must be facing issues. But
ALFA: I usually get 2 notches, sometimes 3 if I am lucky and have to almost hang out the window when I am on the phone.
OP2: There might be a possibility of sim being faulty
ALFA: It has been changed already to see if the sim was faulty.
OP2: I understand. Alfa If you dont mind we can send you a new phone from the credit of £150.00. And you can keep paying the monthly cost of £15.00.
ALFA: Why don’t you just match giffgaff?
OP2: Alfa to be honest, There is no use of Unlimited data as there is a fair usage policy which is led by the Government of UK.
ALFA: What is the best you will do for a 30 day contract?
OP2: Considering your average usage, I can offer you sim only 30 days for £14.50. Including VAT for 500 mins, unlimited texts and 500MB 4G data
ALFA: I thought you were doing a special deal for a loyal customer. That is your standard deal online.
OP2: Yes it is as Alfa on the 30 days deal there is nothing which we can do. The system doesn’t give us an option to add any sort of discounts
ALFA: Ok, can I have a Pac code please?
OP2: Alfa, You’ve been a with us from 2009. And we appreciate your loyalty. Allow me a couple of mins to check what we can do.
ALFA: ok
OP2: Alfa I’ll offer you Sim only 12 months for £8.00. Including VAT for 500 mins, 500 texts and 500MB 4G data + 3 months Free Upgrade option
ALFA: Sorry, I don’t want a contract.
OP2: Alfa on the above deal you can anytime upgrade for a handset deal once you complete 3 months on it. So you are not at all stuck in 12 months contract. And trust me you dont have to pay any early upgrade charges or fee whist you upgrade for a new handset.
ALFA: I got a new handset today.
OP2: That’s great. Congrats Alfa. Have you about a 4G ready handset, Alfa?
ALFA: yes
OP2: That’s great. Alfa I’d just request you to try using our 4G ready sim card in the new phone and trust me you’ll surely get 4G services
ALFA: giffgaff gives me the opportunity to try it out with no contract. If the signal is still bad, I can try another provider without being stuck in a contract.
OP2: Ok I agree to that. Do you have the link for the GiffGaff deal?
OP2: Thanks. Just a few mins please. In the mean time. Have you checked the coverage on our link??
ALFA: Yes. It does say good but it is actually quite poor.
OP2: I’m really sorry for that. Just checking other options for you. Thanks for waiting. Alfa I’m not getting the deal which you’ve offered me.
OP2: If you wish. Alfa we’d just request you to try our 30 days deal. As you’ve got a new 4G ready handset and we’ll send a new 4G sim to you. So you can just give a try using that
ALFA: On what deal?
OP2: sim only 30 days for £14.50. Including VAT for 500 mins, unlimited texts and 500MB 4G data
ALFA: I would rather pay £20 for unlimited.
OP2: Alfa but even you know there is a difference in the quality and level of services which we offer to you. Alfa, You’ve been with us from 2009. And we’d really appreciate if you give us a chance
ALFA: If you can’t match giffgaff, can I have a PAC code please?
OP2: Alfa, I can try to get a similar deal but it wont be on a 30 days deal. That’s the only problem.
ALFA: It is a shame you can’t match giffgaff when I will still be on the same network.
OP2: I’m sorry for that, But Alfa GiffGaff is altogether a different company and there is a lot of difference between the services which we offer. They just use our network till an extent. That’s it and not for full time. We are a direct network provider to you Alfa. And we offer you many other benefits on your daily shopping. At the touch of a button you can find exclusive offers and experiences nationwide. Text ‘MOMENTS’ to 2020 to register. Enjoy 40% off on cinema tickets, £30 off on grocery shopping and much more. We dont just aim to sell our products, But we aim to sell our services. And customer satisfaction is our motto. That’s the reason at present, We’ve been awarded 7th consecutive time the best customer services award in the UK.
ALFA: Can I have a PAC code please?
OP2: It seems you’ve already decided to leave us Alfa. I’ll respect your decision and will get the PAC.
ALFA: Thank you
OP2: You’re welcome.
ALFA: How do I get it?
OP2: I’ll send it via text to you. I’ll quickly give you some important info about PAC, which will help you to move smoothly to other provider. PAC is valid for 30 days. Once you transfer the number using PAC to another service provider, your O2 account will be disconnected. Please make sure that you use the PAC within 30 days. If not, your O2 account will remain active with us and you’ll be charged as per your current tariff. If you don’t use the PAC within 30 days, your account with us will remain active and you’ll need to contact us for a new PAC. You just need to provide this PAC to your new service provider. They make arrangements to get your original number to be transferred to them.
ALFA: ok
OP2: Once the number is transferred successfully to them, your number with us gets cancelled automatically on the same day. Do you have your phone handy?
ALFA: yes
OP2: I’ll send the PAC to you within a couple of mins. Here’s some info you’ll need to read about disconnecting. Please go through the link and let me know if you’ve got any questions
ALFA: ok
OP2: Your text message is sent successfully. Your receipt number is ………. I’ve sent the code to to you.
ALFA: I have the text
OP2: That’s great. Hope you’ve best experiences with the new service provider. It’s been great to have you as a customer with O2 all these years. Is there anything else I can help you with?
ALFA: Do I need to give you notice to leave or does using the PAC code trigger it.
OP2: Using the code triggers everything. Once you use the code the account gets cancelled and the number gets transferred. And you’ll have to start as a new customer with GiffGaff
ALFA: The link above doesn’t work
OP2: Has sent a page …..
ALFA: The link to the receipt number does not work.
OP2: I’ve shared all the mandate info. And the link has the same. However our systems might be down so you wont be able to access it. If you wish you can save the link and visit it later. Is there anything else I can help you with?
ALFA: Can you email this chat please?
OP2: Sure I’ll send it to your registered Email. I’ll send the chat to you. Is there anything else I can help you with?
ALFA: No thank you.
OP2: You’re welcome.
OP2: Take care
OP2: Have a good sleep.
OP2: Good night
OP2: Good bye Alfa.
ALFA: Thank you and good night.
OP2: Good bye Alfa….
ALFA: What was that last offer again?
OP2: sim only 30 days for £14.50. Including VAT for 500 mins, unlimited texts and 500MB 4G data
ALFA: Thought you might have a change of heart !!!
OP2: Oh I thought you wanted to check the offer which I offered the last
ALFA: Good night
OP2: You can go for the above deal and if you feel the network is going good then you can sign for the cash back deal. Where you dont have to pay for the next 10 months. Yes Alfa?
ALFA: what cash back deal?
OP2: £15.00. a month for unlimited mins & texts and 1GB 4G data for 24 months standard deal. And I’ll raise a credit of £150.00 on your account right away. And you dont have to pay for the next 10 months. You’ve got a new handset and we’ll send a new 4G ready sim card to you
OP2: What do you say?
ALFA: I say I’m going to bed. Good night
OP2: All right Alfa.
OP2: Thanks for your time and patience
OP2: Good bye…
ALFA: Good bye, and ending chat. Thank for your help. Good night
info: Alfa has left the chat
info: OP2 has ended the chat

Thank you for that Alfa. I prefer it to Mrs Dale’s Diary. Did you have to pay for that 2-hour call or lose 122 minutes from your allowance?

🙂 That was a quick on-line chat to get my PAC code. I was worn out by the end of it and it still didn’t get me anywhere.

Even worse doing it on-line when they’re paid to be up all night and can keep stringing you along. Can’t give in gracefully, can they? They have to try to grind you down.

You have more patience than me, Alfa. 🙂 I have decided that my life is too short to engage in online chat following a somewhat shorter discussion with Vodafone. I prefer to speak to people, either on the phone or face to face. I’m tempted to say that ‘This call may be recorded for quality and training purposes’.

Wonderful, Alfa! Had me laughing out loud! And so typical…

NukeThemAll says:
15 December 2016

Alfa, that’s outstanding! And it exactly replicates my experience, where the sales person keeps insisting they have offered you a ‘better deal’ when it’s demonstrably inferior. Top marks for patience on your behalf

Petpeg says:
17 December 2016

First haggling occasion with BT I had a very stubborn saleswoman who only offered a £1.85 reduction on Broadband. Been with BT for over 10 years. So I arranged to switch to John Lewis who use PlusNet but are cheaper than PlusNet direct. Then on calling BT about a current bill BT salesman was eagerness itself and offered me even better deal than John Lewis. This was free broadband for 12mths. As I was within the 14 day cooling off period I cancelled John Lewis who said “it is only when you are halfway out the door that BT believe you are switching”! Success!