THE BLOG

Hold the Line - Consumers Paying Over the Odds for Digital Bundles

13/01/2015 11:43 GMT | Updated 15/03/2015 09:59 GMT

There are a million and one things to consider when moving house including ordering a phone line and a broadband connection. However, I strongly recommend waiting to ensure you get the right deal for you and don't end up paying more than is necessary.

Deal or no deal

You should carefully consider your personal requirements for home phone, broadband and television services before placing any orders. Essentially, you could risk paying over the odds by being denied access to the best and most suitable bundle offers, potentially costing hundreds of pounds more over the period of a year.

The best broadband offers on the market often require consumers to have home phone services from the same provider. In addition, if you add satellite or digital television to the mix, the savings can be even greater.

Telephone, broadband and television providers are very keen to get your business and offer some exceptional deals, ranging from a free service period for six months, a very low monthly fee for a year, or cash back and voucher deals worth up to £150. All too often people presume they must order the phone line from BT, but all the providers offering telephone and broadband bundles have the ability to order you a new phone line, although the price will vary from free of charge to £125 so remember to shop around.

Consumers left in the dark

A study by Freeview and Post Office Home Phone and Broadband reveals 34 per cent of people are dissatisfied with their chosen bundle whilst 42 per cent of bundle users are hit with higher than expected bills.

Aside from cost, length of contract and exactly what the deal includes has also left consumers confused. For example, 39 per cent said they rarely watch any of the TV channels they pay for highlighting how many are paying for services and channels in excess of their needs. If you are opting for a limited usage broadband package ensure there is a reasonable upgrade path available to an unlimited usage product.

However, trying to find the cheapest and most suitable home phone, internet and television package can often be daunting due to the ever-increasing options we are presented with. Therefore, before choosing a bundle, consider the following: how many TV channels do you want? Should you pay more for an unlimited package? What TV and broadband services are available in your area?

Bundles usually offer better value to customers but people can easily end up paying extra for services they don't want or can't even access. The pricing of these packages is rarely transparent, making it extremely difficult to compare on a like-for-like basis. Therefore, my advice is to ensure you prioritise what you want and spend a few minutes reading the small print.

Often introductory packages will give you a great deal for the first few months but there will be a rise in cost as soon as this 'honeymoon' period comes to an end. Consumers should thoroughly review any offer to ensure the best pricing structure for their household and their needs before getting in to a contract. We encourage people to carefully consider what they're entering into when taking out a bundle and as a result, consumers could be making considerable savings in the long-run.

Thinkbroadband has produced an independent guide which walks consumers through their options: http://www.thinkbroadband.com/guides/