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Are you wasting money on your home phone deal?

8th August 2011 Print

A new consumer satisfaction survey of over 6,000 home phone customers from Ofcom-accredited price comparison website has found that nearly half of Britain's home phone customers may be wasting money on outdated home phone packages, with 48.5% admitting they have not switched provider at all in the last 5 years. This is despite potential savings of over £100 annually when households switch home phone provider.

Michael Phillips, product director at commented: "Practically every household in Britain has a fixed line phone service and yet most consumers seem to forget all about it when they review their monthly spending. Consumers are under immense pressure to cut costs in the current economic climate of high inflation coupled with squeezed wages and it is disappointing to see over half of Britain's home phone customers waste this opportunity to save money.

"Home phone customers now have a huge selection of providers to choose from, with some of the smaller niche providers offering relatively inexpensive packages for calls and line rental when compared with some of the more established players. For example, Primus Saver currently offers the UK's cheapest line rental and calls package at £7.99 which includes free evening and weekend calls. With potential savings of £105 annually there is certainly nothing to lose - anyone who hasn't compared rates in recent years should use an Ofcom-accredited comparison site and check what is available in their post code.

"Your home phone bill is often the "forgotten" bill - but, just like insurance and financial products, large savings are possible if you shop around. It is incredibly easy to switch nowadays and the best deals are to be found online." top tips on cutting your phone bills:

1. Get a better deal - Even if you don't want to move away from your current supplier, you might still be able to get a better deal. Negotiate with customer services and, if necessary, mention you are thinking of leaving. You may well find they are prepared to reduce the price in order to keep you.

2. Pay by direct debit - Nearly all providers discourage payment other than direct debit and impose charges of anything up to £5 per month for dealing with cheques.  However, The Post Office accepts payment by various means with no additional charges.

3. Avoid hidden costs - There are many sneaky costs you need to keep an eye on. For example, you may incur an installation fee, or be charged for things like retrieving your answer machine messages so always be clear on what you have to pay for before signing a contract.

4. Go for paperless billing - Some providers offer useful savings if you receive your statements online, not by post. You'll also be doing your bit for the environment.

5. Check the small print - If you're tied to a 12 or 18 month contract, you may be faced with exit fees if you want to switch before the contract term ends. New rules have been introduced to reduce these fees but weigh up the difference and make sure it is still worth switching.

6. Beware mobile costs - Calling mobile phones is a universal burden nowadays so be sure to check how much it will cost you per minute to call a mobile phone from your landline; costs vary hugely between providers.

7. Consider calling pack add-ons -  If you have specific needs from your home phone service, for example if you make a lot of calls to international numbers, it may be worth getting a suitable calling plan add-on to keep a lid on those costs.

8. Optimise your calling - If you have free mobile to mobile minutes on contract phone, then use these to call other mobiles. Use your land line to call landlines and 0870 numbers (as some providers include these).

9. Pay annually - Customers who pay up front for the whole year can save even more money. When paying by lump sum, Primus, BT and Sky's monthly line rental payments come down by around £30 - £40 per year.