Only one in five broadband customers always make changes at the end of their contract, meaning the vast majority are being rolled over onto more expensive standard tariffs.
That’s according to a new survey by Which?, which claims that 75% of broadband subscribers “could be at risk of overpaying.”
In a survey of 2,000 broadband customers, the consumer magazine found that just 19% make sure to “always” renegotiate their contract or switch provider at the end of their contract term. A third sometimes move onto a new contract. But 41% said they never or rarely make changes to their broadband tariff.
But failing to make changes can cost you dearly.
Broadband contracts usually last 12, 18, or 24 months. If you don’t enter into a new contract, either with your current provider or a new one, at the end of that term, you won’t be cut off from the internet. You’ll simply be moved over onto your provider’s rolling contract, which usually comes with more expensive bills.
Ofcom has found that out-of-contract customers pay, on average, £8 to £9 more a month for their broadband than those on introductory pricing in contracts. And in its recent review of broadband pricing, the regulator found that 8.8 million broadband customers are out of contract.
Customers who do switch provider or re-contract with their current provider save £100 on average a year, Ofcom said.
Which?’s own analysis found price hikes of up to 88% between in-contract introductory pricing and out of contract bills.
Which? also queried customers about why they don’t make changes to their contract when it ends. Half of those who never or rarely make changes said it was because they were happy with their provider or deal. A quarter said it was because they didn’t want to change provider.
However, you can usually earn discounts while sticking with the same provider by simply signing up for a new fixed-term contract with them.
From February 2020, the telecoms regulator will require broadband provider issue customers with end of contract notices, so they won’t end up paying more because they forgot their contract was ending.
However, Which?’s survey suggests that there’s more broadband providers could do to make pricing and contracts transparent and non-intimidating for customers.
Nearly a quarter of those the magazine surveyed said they didn’t feel confident in their ability to assess what they need for a broadband service or to identify a suitable package. And half said they didn’t feel they could trust their broadband provider for advice, concerned they would be upsold services they don’t need.