That really is the question. We’ve all been there, your mobile phone contract is nearly up and you get that all important phone call or email about upgrading.
Loyalty is a huge pull in the mobile contract industry, and that gives you a very particular weapon with which to fight your corner and save a few pounds. In every area of life, we call this haggling.
Ammunition: You are well within your rights to walk away. You owe them nothing. If they want to keep you, they have to prove they are worth your money!
Fight tactic: Negotiate until you find something that works for you. Whether that’s complimentary extra minutes and texts, or a brand-new handset, choose your position and then haggle.
Do some research and find out the best offers that your mobile network advertises – often you will find that these advertised offers are better than those you get with your existing contract, with new customers being given bigger discounts and more benefits. More often than not, with a well-argued case and compelling threat to leave, you should get a price match in the bag – at the very least!
Here are three tips to bring to that haggling conversation, ensuring you get the best deals possible:
- Simply tell your network that you are unhappy with your existing tariff. This will often become apparent as a result of some research and comparison, but gives you a solid base from which to argue your case. The other option is to just say the tariff is too expensive and that you will go elsewhere if the cost isn’t lowered.
- Make sure you speak to the right department who actually have the power to make the changes you are requesting. This is ultimately the customer retention department or the disconnections department – these individuals within the network company often hold the most power and influence over offering discounts.
- If the network says no to your demands, don’t feel like you have to go through with your threat to leave. Tell them you need to think about it if you want an easy end to the conversation, or else take a look at different options and genuinely assess the benefits of staying vs. changing network.
The art of haggling does not come naturally to everyone, but there are a few other tips to help you overcome the initial nerves. Aim to release your haggling tactic just before your contract ends, as this is when you are in the best position to ask for change. Understand your current allowance and your usage, to see exactly where you will get the most benefit. Remember that the first offer they give you will not necessarily be the best, and if you are going to haggle then you might as well be in for the long haul and make sure you get a great deal! And if you fail… well maybe you spoke to the wrong person, or maybe you’re just not great at haggling. Either way, there are so many mobile phone options out there for you to explore. Just cut your losses, say goodbye to the old and in with the new!
My Recommendation – Switch to SIM Only
Rather than take out a new 24-month contract via an upgrade with your existing network my recommendation is to switch to a SIM only contract or even a pay as you go deal. You can do this via downgrading your plan on your existing network or moving elsewhere. Switching networks and keeping your number has never been easier and only requires a PAC code.
After all, do you really need a brand new phone? The new Apple iPhone or Samsung may look great, and it may impress your friends for all of 5 minutes, but chances are your current phone does the job just fine. Even if it’s on its last legs, then buying one outright is a much better choice.
You can find SIM only deals from anywhere from £5-£15 a month that should cover pretty much everyone’s usage requirements. Most of these are 12-month deals but there are also a lot of 30-day deals too that don’t you tie you in long term.
The other option is to move to a pay as you go sim. I quite like this option as it completely removes the possibility of racking up a large bill or not being able to pay as you pay for everything up front. My memory of pay as you go was having to top up my phone with a voucher from the local shop but now all the networks provide you with pre-paid bundles that come with a set amount of minutes, data and texts which last for 30 days. They then renew automatically each month.
Pay as you go probably isn’t the best for data-heavy users, but based on the offerings I’ve researched giffgaff look like a sensible choice for most people. Based on this pay as you go consumer guide, Asda looks to be another solid option if you are a very light user as their credit doesn’t expire quickly.
In short, you need to think about the time of plan you need and then stick to it. A contract, SIM-only, or Pay-As-You-Go. All have their pros and cons, it’s up to you to sort them out and decide which is best for you. But don’t be afraid to haggle or vote with your feet and move networks if they can’t offer what you want!