September 24, 2023

Thank God there are readers of Wealth and Personal Finance magazine. Many of you have kindly reached out to share your tips for dealing with rising broadband and phone prices. Many wanted to help other readers land climbs they can’t afford. Thank you. We are always so happy to hear from you.

But your ideas were not limited to helping other readers. Some have suggested a great way that broadband and phone service providers could cut their costs as well. Then maybe they wouldn’t be so hungry to bill us. (Well, we can dream.)

– Advertisement –

It is so simple. All they have to do is put an end to the upvote charade.

All over the country, broadband and phone customers are calling their providers to get a better deal. Judging by your letters and e-mails, a huge number of people manage to lower their bills.

– Advertisement –

But this is bullshit. Clients hate it. First you need to look through the endless recorded messages asking you to press one for this or two for this. What follows is a farce of having to pretend that you are planning to leave your ISP in order for them to offer you a better deal. You will then have to listen patiently as the support rep reads out the many terms and conditions. And you’ll get off easy if you don’t find yourself stuck in all this nonsense at some point.

Annoying customers, yes. But consider how expensive this must be for broadband and phone providers. They have to pay for hundreds of hours of call center staff time, training, and technology. It must cost them millions.

BT tells customers it bills because it is “investing more than ever to provide customers with the best possible experience and service.”

Virgin says its prices are rising “so we can continue to provide you with the quality of service you expect from us.”

But maybe they would be better off if they invested less in customer service in the first place and more in offering fair and predictable prices. Every time we have to call them, it eats into their profits. And when they make a mistake, then their costs really start to rise.

I have just signed a new broadband contract with BT. But it messed up the process so much that I spent four hours counting on the phone trying to fix it. I’m sure it cost BT more work time than it could ever hope to get back by having me as a client.

Judging by your letters, I’m not the only one. Reader Andy Hunter, for example, has been trying all week to get a better deal with Virgin Media after she wrote that his bills would rise by £15 a month. He spent hours online chatting and being transferred from one department to another over the phone.

“In total, I received 17 documents at different prices. It was so confusing and stressful to keep up with it all,” says Andy.

See also  Mastercard To Make It Easier For Banks To Offer Crypto Services – NerdWallet

I feel for you, Andy. Being stuck in the nightmare of broadband customer service is infuriating and tiring.

Just think how much money Virgin Media would save if they got it right the first time.

Andy and I are fed up, but we’ll get our way in the end.

But this system unfairly discriminates against people who do not know how to call and bargain.

Reader Douglas Lancaster tried, after Skye told him his bills were rising. But he is very hard of hearing and struggles to understand what is being said to him. Other broadband and phone customers don’t realize they can call on the phone to get a better deal.

It can’t be that those who can’t or don’t make a fuss pay more. This pricing system is broken and needs to be fixed for the sake of customers and suppliers.

Last week we reported that Tesco Mobile was one of the few major providers that did not increase customer bills in the middle of a contract. The next day, a mid-contract price increase was introduced. What a disgrace.

Reader Ron Burroughs was told his account would rise 14.4%. He says: “I am retired and have spent a lot of time and effort deciding which supplier and contract to go with. This is more than a disappointment. This is a waste of my time and also my frustration with Tesco’s promises.”

Come on, Tesco Mobile – lead, don’t follow. Reward clients like Ron for their loyalty and they will do the same for you.