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BT announce price hikes — What can consumers do?

BT announce price hikes — What can consumers do?

BT has announced that unexpected price hikes for their broadband and phone services are to become a thing of the past. Instead, annual incremental increases will be included in every new customer’s contract that will be in line with inflation.

However, BT TV services — and BT Sport in particular — will remain subject to steep, unexpected price hikes, whether you’re a BT customer or not.

Annual BT price increases

New terms and conditions in BT contracts reveal that regular price increases are set to become an annual occurrence for BT customers. As of 11 January 2019, all BT Landline, BT Broadband and BT Mobile packages will have their prices increased each year in line with inflation (based on the Consumer Price Index — or CPI — rate of inflation which is published in January of each year), with the first set of increases taking place from March 2020.

This may seem like bad news since no one likes price increases, but the good news is that there will be fewer surprises when it comes to future price increases from BT. At least you’ll know that there will only be a small increase to your broadband bill each year and can therefore plan accordingly.

How much is the BT broadband price increase?

The new price increase will be calculated every year based on the CPI, so there’s no set percentage or amount your bill will increase by. The CPI for the 12-month period leading up to the announcement stood at 2.0%, according to figures released by the Office of National Statistics.

So how would this impact your BT broadband price? BT’s official support page says the following:

“We calculate the price change by adding the CPI percentage to the price of your monthly landline, broadband and mobile price plan(s).”

For example, at the time of publishing, the BT Superfast Fibre Broadband and Weekend Calls package was priced at £31.99. With inflation added at 2%, the new monthly rate would be £32.63.

A monthly increase of 64p won’t exactly break the bank, and it’s much lower than the random, non-inflationary price increases most other providers throw at their customers.

It goes on to say, “Lots of our extra charges, like out-of-allowance calling rates and your optional add-ons will go up in line with CPI too. Have a look in the terms and conditions for each of your services for the full list of charges.”

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How much is the BT TV price increase?

While the new pricing structure will mean fewer unexpected price increases for broadband and phone customers, BT TV is another matter entirely. The media provider recently increased the price of all of its digital TV packages — just before the start of the 2019-2020 Premier League season.

Most BT TV packages increased in price by £1 per month, so in total, a £12 bump in cost per year. However, BT TV’s Max 4K package increased in price by £4 per month, totalling an extra £48 per year that customers would need to pay.

BT Sport price increase

Those who are not BT customers but are still subscribing to BT Sport will also see prices increase. If you want to keep watching games and events via the BT Sport App, you’ll need to pay an extra £1 per month, bringing the total cost of subscribing to £132 a year.

Adding BT Sport to another TV subscription service is where the price increase becomes really complicated, with each provider offering their own rates and deals when adding BT Sport. For example, Plusnet customers recently saw the cost of subscribing to BT Sport increase by 100%, jumping from £5 to £10 a month.

BT was quick to comment on the price increase in July 2019, citing a focus on delivering quality content as the cause for the dramatic price increase:

“We're changing some of our BT TV and BT Sport prices. We look at a number of factors when we review prices. This price increase reflects the rise in costs to show the best content and provide you with great customer service.”

BT Sport has often adjusted its prices based on the amount of coverage it offers — it now broadcasts Europa League matches and highlights, 52 Premier League games, European and Premiership Rugby Union, UFC fights and more including world title boxing, cricket, tennis and MotoGP.

What can BT customers do?

If you are notified by BT of price hikes in your BT TV and BT Sport subscriptions, you have the right to remove these services from your package penalty-free, as long as you do so within 30 days of receiving your price increase notification.

However, the increases in broadband and phone service in line with CPI are now part of your contract T&Cs. This means that you probably won’t be able to end your broadband and/or phone contract early without incurring penalty charges.

If you still want to switch, compare popular broadband deals and find out what’s available in your area, or check out cheap broadband deals.

To learn more about how you can start the switching process, read our guide on switching broadband providers.

Contacting BT

If you’re confused by the additional charges or anything to do with your BT contract, then get in touch with them for clarification. At the very least you’ll be able to find out when your BT contract ends and what early termination charges you’d be liable to pay, should you wish to switch to a new provider.

Customers can contact BT in several ways:

  • Phone: BT’s customer care line can be reached at 0800 800 150.t’s open Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm, or weekends from 9am to 6pm.

  • Email: You can fill out BT’s contact form and submit your complaint. BT aims to respond to emails within 24 hours.

  • Live chat: BT support assistants are available via live chat from 7am to 11pm every day.

  • Twitter: The @BTCare Twitter account is very responsive to public complaints on social media.

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