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TalkTalk: time to put an end to separate line rental charges

Computer mouse

Have you ever been confused by the pricing in broadband ads? TalkTalk’s managing director, Tristia Harrison, writes on why they’re scrapping separate line rental charges.

If you’ve ever tried to buy a broadband package, you’ll know that calculating the monthly cost can sometimes be reminiscent of maths lessons at school. You have to do long-winded sums taking into account the headline price, set up fees and line rental. Soon enough, an attractive deal can become much more expensive than you initially thought.

This happens across the country, on a daily basis, because broadband providers are falling short in making pricing simple and transparent. Increasingly, the industry is characterised by attention-grabbing broadband prices, underpinned by less prominent – and more costly – landline charges.

It’s a bad habit that all providers, including TalkTalk, have been guilty of. It doesn’t serve customers well and it’s time it stopped.

Bringing in ‘all-in pricing’

That’s why we’ve made the decision to do the right thing and will be scrapping separate line rental charges for TalkTalk homes. We’ll be moving toward a single monthly cost including line rental, known as ‘all-in pricing’.

We’re doing this because we firmly believe every home that’s online deserves transparency and to know they’re getting value for money.

It’s a view that’s shared by the government, consumer groups like Which? and the Advertising Standards Authourity. All agree that presenting landline and broadband costs separately adds unnecessary complexity and risks broadband deals appearing misleadingly cheap. Yet we’re the only major broadband provider to commit to all-in pricing so far.

Tougher advertising rules

The need for change is exemplified by the ASA’s tougher rules to make pricing on broadband advertising clearer so people have enough details to make an informed choice. But more needs to be done.

As long as line rental and broadband are priced separately, the temptation to advertise deals in this way will always be there. Other providers must follow our lead, to prevent households across the UK from being misled by seemingly good deals that all too often mask extra charges.

It’s time to put an end to out-dated bad practices and make things simpler and fairer for customers, once and for all.

This is a guest contribution by Tristia Harrison, Managing Director of TalkTalk. All opinions are her own, not necessarily those of Which?

Comments
Member

There have been many posts on Which? Conversation complaining about broadband pricing, notably the need to pay an additional line rental, so this is a positive move. It’s good to see Tristia’s comment about her company being one of the ones getting it wrong for customers and I wish more companies would admit weaknesses.

On a related matter, I see that TalkTalk is still advertising ‘up to’ speeds. This is another issue that annoys customers. TalkTalk could impress potential customers by dropping the ‘up to’ speeds and inviting customers to look up what speed they are likely to get based on their postcode or phone number, as my ISP has done in response to complaints.

Member
Ian says:
10 May 2016

They are not ‘scrapping line rental charges’. They will show a combined price for line rental and broadband.

I would much rather see separate prices for line rental, call plan, internet, etc.

Member

Your right Ian just another advertising devious “cover-up ” to generate more initial sales so that they can say- “we are better than other companies ” I feel sorry for those taken in by– IMHO – corrupt advertising .

Member

I’m well aware that the charges that don’t relate to usage will be included in the broadband charge, so line rentals as a separate item are indeed being scrapped.

Many people don’t use a landline to make calls and object to paying the line rental, which will contribute towards the cost of the telephone exchange and may include some calls.

Member

Many people do use a landline, and as far as I know those on copper broadband use some telecoms equipment and need to contribute to maintenance and repair. If you don’t use a landline phone, and decide not to have a landline then you can have it disconnected, and no longer pay for it.

What I (many?) don’t like are “hidden” charges and bundling line rental with broadband is exactly that. Charges should be transparent.

Member

I’m one of those that do use a landline – as I have said many times in our discussions. I’m thinking of people other than myself. Many have said that they don’t want to pay for something they don’t use, which will include the telephone exchange and may include calls. Do we expect those without a computer to contribute to the cost of the equipment needed to provide broadband services?

There are always going to be personal preferences in how charges are levied. Maybe it would be good to ask the general public.

Member
Ian says:
11 May 2016

If you don’t make calls, then you don’t need a call package, but you will still have to pay for the physical phone line that brings the broadband signal to your home.

Member

Ian the phone line is the physical means of your computer transmitting and receiving data from the Internet just like 4 G is the wireless version as such you pay rental for its upkeep , you can always tell BT to remove it and live with 4 G and then no line rental to bother about.