Written by Karen Bryan
As our 12 month contract with BT for unlimited fibre broadband and unlimited anytime calls was due to end in January 2017, I started shopping around for the best deals.
After doing some research, I contacted BT to ask if they would match the price offered by EE.
The first issue I had was that BT said that in order to offer me a discount that I would have to sign up for a 24 month contract. I told them that I wasn’t very happy to be tied in for two years, as in the past I had been able to sign a one year contract.
As I’d have had to sign up for an 18 month contract with EE, the additional six months for a BT 24 month contract wasn’t a deal breaker.
After a couple of calls, BT offered me a £14 discount on the £26 charge for broadband, and a price of £5.50 for unlimited anytime calls. That came to £17.60 a month for broadband and calls, Adding the monthly line rental of £18,99, that came to a total of £36.49 a month.
I decided to stay with BT.
Now I knew that BT would increase their prices during the contract, as this has happened to me previously. I’m also aware that all the other broadband providers increase their charges at least once a year.
What I wasn’t prepared was the size of price hike that BT would announce, due to kick in on 2 April 2017.
A couple of weeks after signing the two year contract with BT. I received an email from BT informing me that they were increasing the price of the broadband by £2.50 a month, meaning that I’d be charged £14.50 a month instead of £12. The price of the unlimited anytime calls was increasing by 50p a month, from £5.50 to £6.
The telecoms watchdog Ofcom needs to whip telecom providers into shape by only permitting telecoms providers to increase prices by the rate of inflation. Although you can leave a contract without penalty if a telecoms provider increases the price by more than the rate of inflation, telecoms companies have a sneaky way of tying you into a contract.
Most telecom providers offer a discount of around 10% if you pay your line rental upfront for one year. You are then effectively tied into your contract for that year, as the telecoms providers won’t refund any line rental paid in advance.
In my opinion, if Ofcom won’t ban above inflation price increases when customers are in contract, they should at least force telecom providers to refund any line rental paid upfront if the prices are increased by more than rate of inflation.