The mobile phone industry in the UK is currently worth close to £100 billion and is continuing to grow. With the ever growing choice of handsets, features and tariffs, it’s sometimes difficult to know which is the most cost-effective way to pay for a phone and the accompanying minutes, texts and internet access.
When buying a phone, the best place to start is with some research. If you know which handset you want and have a set budget of how much you want to pay for a handset and can afford each month for the price plan, carry out a price comparison between the providers and use this as a bargaining tool. If you are staying with your current provider and you know it’s cheaper elsewhere, tell them and say you want to stay a loyal customer, but feel that perhaps they should improve the deal with more minutes, some extras or a lower price per month. The staff in the stores have targets to meet and if you approach the negotiations with confidence and a smile, haggling is likely to pay dividends. If you have found your current tariff too expensive and need to bring your account back up to date, finance from your bank or a payday loan from a company such as Wonga could be the solution, but this should only be in an emergency situation.
If you are nearing the end of your current contract, don’t let it roll over into a new one as you’ll be locked again into a new contract. Call your network provider and tell them your contract is about to end. They will offer you a range of upgrade handsets, but don’t take one of these. Tell them that whilst you’ve been happy, you are going to leave as you want a better deal elsewhere. This will then become a ‘retentions’ call and they will offer you a better upgrade on your handset to keep you as a customer. If you still say you are going to leave because you want to pay less each month, see what tariff they can offer you as well as an upgraded handset. If they don’t make an offer that you like the sound of, move to a different network. Ask for your PAC code to keep your number and take your business elsewhere.
When dealing with your phone network, it’s a case of if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Companies want to keep their customers as it’s a competitive industry and even if you’re nowhere near the end of your contract, give them a call. The best angle with this is for a reduction in tariff. If you aren’t currently using all your allowances, it is wasting money. and if you ask to be moved onto the lowest tariff possible, they should oblige. By doing this you may not have as much,talk time or internet access, but it will be saving money.
If your phone bill is too expensive and you are locked into the contract for a number of months, look to change to a PAYG plan as soon as you are able to be released from the contract. If there are financial difficulties generally, Citizen’s Advice will be able to help and will offer support by contacting your phone company for you.
Mobile phones are an everyday part of life and have some fantastic features which make them a complete media and communications centre. It’s wise though to really think about what the handset will be used for rather than being dazzled by all the apps and the fact it’s apparently the latest must have model. Once signed up for, a phone contract can become a millstone if it becomes a burden on the finances. Talking to the phone company is the key and by a little bit of bluffing and some confident haggling, you could own a great phone at a great price.
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