Did you know three quarters of us are on the wrong mobile phone tariff, paying for freebies that we don’t need and wasting around £200 a year? Or that a third of us are still being charged for our mobile phone handset, even after we have already paid for it – and shelling out an extra £22 a month on average?
But the sheer number of tariffs, deals and one-off offers – there are currently more than 2.5 million! – can make it difficult to find the cheapest mobile phone deal, but you can use a website that compares prices from providers to simplify the process and save you a serious amount of money.
HOW IT WORKS
Check out Billmonitor.com I’ve not been paid to recommend this website, but I have used it myself and think it’s marvellous. All you do is enter your mobile phone account details and the site runs through every call, text and byte of data on your bill, working out the cost on each tariff. By considering details such as free minutes, off-peak calling and charge limits, it can identify the 12 tariffs that could save you the most money.
IS IT SAFE?
I’m sure that reading the words “enter your login name and mobile billing password” have set the alarm bells off, but don’t fret.
Your personal login and billing information stays securely stored with Billmonitor’s AES Encryption, which is a standard used for secure online bank account access.
But as with any online banking or shopping you do, always check that the “http” portion of the web site address in your browser has changed to “https” to ensure that you are in a “secure” area.
Many web browsers use special symbols to indicate that you’re in a web site’s secure area, commonly a closed padlock, so keep your eyes out for this too.
UNDERSTAND YOUR USAGE
I am on my phone a lot. Probably more than a lot of people due to my job, but when Billmonitor crunched the numbers, I was surprised at how little I use it in the traditional sense.
Take texts for instance. Many deals charge extra for hundreds or even unlimited free text messages each month. But sccording to my last three bills, I only send an average of 46 texts a month, which makes sense considering that I use Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger or email to stay in touch my friends and family both here in the UK and at home in Canada.
When it comes to voice calls, over the last three months, I have only used an average of 85 minutes of my free allowance. So why am I paying for a bundle of inclusive texts and minutes I never use?
If you are like me and discover that you are not using your full call and text allowance and have been with a network for more than three months, some providers will let you downgrade to a lower monthly tariff. Similarly, if you regularly exceed your bundle’s allowance of free minutes and texts and incur extra charges, you may be able to renegotiate and cut costs.
HAGGLE LIKE A PRO
Get a cheaper deal by haggling with your service provider. A survey from Moneysavingexpert.com found 68% of mobile phone customers who tried to haggle were successful in negotiating a better deal –sometimes shaving hundreds off their annual bills.
To get started, call your provider’s retention department and tell them you are thinking of leaving. Armed with the info from your Billmonitor report, you will be in a good position to secure a good deal.
Use key negotiation phrases such as: “I’m paying too much for my current package”, “a competitor offers a similar deal, but for less” or “I am leaving”.
Try to time it right to your advantage. Don’t call on busy periods such as Mondays, lunch hours or the weekend – in other words, when everyone else is calling too – you might need extra time to make your case successfully.
Bear in mind that if you’ve continued to pay the full price of your mobile contract after you’ve paid off the cost of the handset, you’re not entitled to compensation.
You can only make this request if you think the terms and conditions don’t make it clear that you’ll continue to pay after the deal ends – and it can’t hurt to ask.