MILLIONS of households could be forking out more than they need to for household bills like broadband, but there's an easy way to cut costs.
Haggling can often feel like a chore, but that might be because you're doing it all wrong – here are our top tips to negotiate lower prices.
As essential costs like broadband, food and gas soar to eye-watering levels, it's important to pinch back the pennies where possible.
The Office for National Statistics revealed today that inflation has risen to 9%, putting it at a 40-year high.
And the Bank of England has warned it could climb further, potentially reaching 10% within months.
Rocketing prices are pushing thousands of households to the brink, meaning money saving tips are needed now more than ever.
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So here's how to haggle and save hundreds on your household bills.
Abandon your basket
This tip is great for people who prefer to avoid speaking to providers on the phone.
According to TopCashback, if you're shopping for deals online and you put something in your basket, it pays to leave it sitting there for a while.
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You'll have to make sure you're logged into your account on whichever website you're visiting, and you should close the tab down with the item in your basket.
Companies often send deals out via email to persuade you to complete your purchase if they notice an incomplete sale.
In some cases, the longer you leave your basket, the better the deal gets.
Haggle at the right time
If you need to speak to a company on the phone, be sure to catch them at the right time.
Make some time to negotiate with your provider in the morning.
This way, you have a better chance of being the first customer through on the phone, and the rep won't have worked tirelessly through previous calls which may have affected their stress levels.
The less stressed the person who answers the phone, the better your chances are at having your case heard.
Build up a rapport
Understandably, you might be feeling on edge when calling up to haggle.
But it pays to be polite when getting through to someone on the phone, as representatives are less inclined to help rude or aggressive customers.
A survey by Which? previously found nearly half of customers had been successful when they had tried to barter for a better deal, saving an average of £85 on broadband and £35 on mobile phone bills.
Do your homework
Research similar package deals and have them to hand, ready toquote when speaking to your provider.
Knowing what other offers are on the market can help you to make a case for yourself to your provider.
It may be willing to bring costs down and match the cheaper quote, rather than lose you as a customer.
If you're not sure where to start, use comparison sites like USwitch to help you find the lowest price.
Threaten to leave
If your provider won't haggle, you can always threaten to leave.
Companies don't want to lose customers and may come up with a last-minute offer to keep you.
But beware – this might not always work.
If you are considering moving elsewhere, be sure to check out any exit fees you may have to pay, particularly if you're still in a contract period with your provider.
Again, if you are using this tactic, make sure you stay polite and calm as this will make it more likely the customer services rep will be willing to negotiate.
Meet in the middle
A classic negotiation trick is to suggest a much lower price to begin with, so that an offer lands somewhere in the middle.
You may not strike gold on the first attempt, so be sure to start as low as possible (within reason!) to factor in the incline in price as you negotiate.
If you're not sure where to start, try quoting the lowest deal you can find online.
You'll often need to use multiple haggling tricks to succeed, so make sure you have a couple up your sleeve to fall back on.
Adam Bullock of TopCashback said: “With the cost-of-living crisis affecting so many families across the UK, it's little wonder that people are putting their haggling skills to good use.
“Not every shopper will be offered lower prices, but it’s worth checking if there are any other perks that can be thrown in such as freebies and vouchers or even free delivery.
“After all, the worst thing that can happen is a retailer says no.”
Other ways to save on your broadband
Haggling may not always cut costs by as much as you'd hoped, but there are other ways you may be able to save on your broadband.
If you're on benefits, you could see £100s taken off your bill if you're eligible for cheap social tariffs.
Big providers including BT, Virgin Media O2, VOXI for Now, Sky Broadband Basics, Community Fibre and more all offer social tariffs – we've got a full list, but you can speak to them directly to find out if you're eligible.
Cheaper social tariffs could save cash-strapped households £150 a year on average, according to Ofcom.
To claim, you'll usually need to be receiving either employment and support allowance, income support, jobseeker's allowance, or Universal Credit.
Prices usually start from £15 a month and reach speeds of up to 50Mbps.
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