Five Questions About: Landline price hikes

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The Independent Online

Which companies are hiking home phone bills?

From 1 October, BT and TalkTalk are raising prices. BT is increasing line rental by 50p to £12.04 a month for those billed electronically, and by 50p to £13.29 for paper bills. Call set-up fees are up 10 per cent to 10.9p and daytime call rates will rise from 5.9p to 6.4p per minute. Call set-up fees apply on calls outside your calling plan, on top of the cost of the call.

TalkTalk's line rental increases by 55p to £12.04, while its daytime call rate goes from 5.8p a minute to 6.4p. The fee to take your service with you when you move rises £20 to £49.99, while late-payment charges go from £7.50 to £10.

Is there anyway to avoid the hikes?

BT is offering a 12-month Line Rental Saver deal costing £113.88 for the year – £9.49 a month – and includes free weekend calls. But you need to pay in full by 29 October.

How can people pay less?

Make sure you avoid additional charges. Some providers will give customers a discount for switching to paperless billing, while others levy a fee for anyone not paying by direct debit.

Are there any other ways I can reduce my bills?

Bundling – where a customer buys their phone, broadband and TV from one provider – can cut bills. For example, you can save £222 a year if you opted for a bundled TV, broadband and phone package with Virgin Media, compared with standalone prices.

Why don't more people switch?

Research by Ofcom shows that almost half of people avoid switching their landline or broadband because they think it will be too much hassle. The good news is that the watchdog has proposed a system where the provider which is gaining the business handles the switching process, which should make it easier for customers to get a better deal. Ofcom expects to publish a consultation on its proposals in the spring.

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