Budget ISP Plusnet has announced its latest round of price hikes, to hit broadband and landline phone customers from 3 December.
Phone line rental on Plusnet packages will increase by £1, to £19.99 a month, driving up the monthly prices of Plusnet’s broadband deals by £1. The price of Plusnet’s Line Rental Saver deal, a discounted upfront payment for their line rental over the length of their contract, will also rise.
Meanwhile, prices of the provider’s 'broadband without line rental' packages will rise by £2 a month across the board. Plusnet will also be withdrawing its broadband connections without line rental from the market for new customers after 3 December.
Landline phone customers will see increases in per minute charges, and the monthly cost of calling add-ons, including free evening and weekend or anytime calls, will rise by £1 a month.
These hikes will not, however, apply to the bills existing Plusnet customers who entered into fixed price contracts after 8 August 2018 or customers currently subscribed to the Line Rental Saver product. Those customers will, however, face the higher prices when their fixed price contract expires, and they want to enter a new tariff with Plusnet.
All customers out of contract with Plusnet will face hikes but can avoid them by locking in prices by entering a fixed-rate contract before 3 December.
Plusnet attributed the price hikes to investment in its services, including “a new way of billing.”
The ISP said in a statement: “We’re constantly looking to make improvements to our products and the services we offer you. This year that included things like a new way of billing, updates to our Member Centre and better rewards through My Perks.
“These pricing changes will see us invest even more into giving you the broadband and phone services you deserve.”
Customers may be wary, however, given the problems that plagued Plusnet’s last transition to a new billing platform. Last year, as it moved over to a new billing system, Plusnet accidentally charged more than 1,000 customers twice for its £200 Line Rental Saver deal. It also failed to collect bills from some customers in January, leading to their accounts being inaccurately marked as in arrears and their credit reports affected.
Additionally, last month Plusnet admitted that it had failed to collect bills from hundreds of customers for several months and issued many with up to three months of backdated bills.
All the billing troubles led to Plusnet being the most complained about large broadband provider in the last quarter of 2018 and first quarter of 2019, according to Ofcom data, with a high portion (38%) of complaints about billing, pricing, and charges.
However, ISPs will likely be hiking prices across the board, to cope with increased consumer appetites for data and new regulations from Ofcom, including the new automatic compensation scheme and the revised broadband speed code of practice.
A spokesperson for Plusnet said: “Like many providers we are making small price changes to some of our products. We’ve managed to keep prices as low as possible without increases for the last 18 months as we know these are always unwelcome.
“All customers can move to a Fixed Price Contract to guarantee broadband and line rental prices, to avoid the increase whilst taking advantage of end-of-contract reminders and an annual account review, so they always know they’re on the right deal for their needs.”
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