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BT announces price increase — What can consumers do?

BT announces price increase — What can consumers do?

As of 31 March 2021, the new annual BT price rises came into effect. Set out back in September 2020, BT increased its monthly prices –– alongside its subsidiaries EE and Plusnet –– by a dramatic 4.5%.

BT, Plusnet or EE customers whose contracts have recently ended might have also noticed a significant increase in their monthly bills. If this has happened to you, you should have received a notification from your provider beforehand telling you that your fixed-term was ending.

In this guide, we’ll talk you through these price increases, why they’re happening and what you can do about them.

Which BT customers will be affected by the annual price increase?

The BT price increase affected the majority of its residential customers as the policy is now part of its T&Cs. All new BT customers who signed up or re-contracted with BT after September 2020 would have been subject to an annual price increase in line with inflation plus an additional 3.9%

On one hand this can be seen as a positive since there's no more surprises when it comes to the annual broadband price increase. On the other hand, since these significant price increases are written into your BT contract terms and conditions, you won't be protected by Ofcom's rules against mid-contract price increases that allow you to break your contract early without paying an exit fee.

Plusnet and EE price increase

Since Plusnet and EE are both part of the BT Group, this price increase also impacted Plusnet and EE broadband customers. It’s also been applied across all of the two providers’ services including broadband, landline, TV and mobile services as well as any add-ons you may have taken out at the start of your contract.

Get more information on Plusnet’s price increases with our dedicated Plusnet prices guide.

End of contract price increases for BT, Plusnet and EE

If you're a BT, Plusnet or EE customer who started your contract before September 2020 and you haven't renewed it yet, you won't be affected by the annual increase until you do.

But don’t take too long to renew your contract. If you stay on the same contract after its term finishes, you’ll have to deal with an even larger bill increase onto ‘out of contract’ prices. If your end date is approaching, or your fixed-term has already ended, you need to decide whether you want to start a new package or switch to another provider.

Your provider will send you a notification before your end date as a reminder to look for a new broadband deal. Once you receive that, you should compare broadband deals to see if you could be getting a broadband service that’s better suited (and better priced) for you.

How much is the BT price increase?

Out of contract prices

According to our own research, monthly prices for BT deals tend to increase by a staggering 24-28% once you fall out of contract. That’s a difference of around £8 per month, which is more than a basic Netflix subscription.

Plusnet and EE’s out of contract price hikes are even steeper. EE will have you paying up to 50% more per month than your mid-contract prices, and Plusnet’s increases have been known to be as high as 66%.

This is why it’s so important to know when your contract is ending and to look for a new deal when that date starts to approach. It will help you avoid a significant jump in your monthly outgoings, and you could benefit from finding an even better service than what you currently pay for.

Annual price increases

BT, like many broadband providers, shifted away from an arbitrary annual price increase in favour of aligning its price hikes with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate of inflation each year. This meant that customers would have agreed to allow their prices to be increased in-line with the CPI figure which is announced at the start of the year.

The additional price increase of 3.9% will affect all new or re-contracted BT residential tariffs.

BT broadband annual price increases - April 2021

BT price increases

BT broadband prices are set to increase by around £2-£3 a month depending on your subscription package. This could add up to an additional cost of over £70 for the length of your contract.

BT TV annual price increases - April 2021

BT TV price increases

Since most BT TV packages are cheaper than its broadband service, the BT TV price increases seem less dramatic, increasing by just 22p - 67p per month. However, this could add up quickly if you subscribe to multiple TV packages and are signed up to BT's standard 24-month contract.

BT annual price increases support network and service improvements

The message from BT is that the price increase is necessary in order to invest in the BT network and improve the service it can bring to its customers.

A BT spokesperson said,

“Back in September we made some changes to our contract terms as we started to bring all our products and brands in line with a predictable annual increase. We are currently reminding customers that these changes will start from April.

Network usage is doubling as our customers rely on us for connectivity more than ever before, and this small annual increase reflects the investment needed to support growing demand. The average increase for a broadband/ Mobile customer is less than £2 a month, meaning our customers will continue to benefit from the fastest networks, the best customer service and the safest products.”

What can BT customers do?

The annual BT price increase will only affect customers who sign a new contract with BT. This could be those joining BT for the first time or those signing up for another fixed-term contract. It's worth noting that BT contracts are typically 24 months long, meaning that you will be affected by at least one price increase in that time.

If you are out of contract, it would be a good idea to compare broadband deals to find out what else is available from other providers before committing to a two-year contract with BT.

Contacting BT

If you still have concerns about additional charges or anything to do with your BT contract, then you can get in touch with them directly 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. It’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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