TalkTalk legacy customers face price hikes

talktalk

WITHIN weeks of unveiling their new all-in deals for new customers, TalkTalk have announced some significant price rises for customers on their old packages.

samantha smith
By Samantha Smith

The headline increases include line rental rising to £18.95 a month, and the cost of Simply Broadband increasing for the third time in 18 months, to £9 a month.

The ISP are also putting up their call connection and per minute fees for calls to UK numbers, by 1p each, effective from the start of December.

The TalkTalk price changes

The full set of in-contract price increases is as follows:

Product Current price Price from November 4th
Line rental £17.70 £18.95
Value Line Rental £191.16. for 12 months
£270.81 for 18 months
£204.66 for 12 months
£289.93 for 18 months
Simply Broadband £7.50 £9
Essentials TV + Broadband £10 per month £11.50 per month
Plus TV + Broadband £20 £21.50
Voice only (excluding voice only with weekend calls) Various £10 per month
From December 1st
Call connection fee 17p per call 18p per call
Non-inclusive UK calls 11.5p per call 12.5p per call

As it's not possible to get TalkTalk's broadband without also paying for line rental from them, most customers will see their monthly bills rise by £2.75 a month, or £33 a year.

Note the increase in Value Line Rental, to more than £200 for 12 months, and almost £290 for the 18-month version.

Only BT charge more for 12 months' line rental in advance - and only just, at £205.08. TalkTalk's annual option now costs the equivalent of £17.06 a month, while the 18-month version costs £16.11 a month - offering savings of 10% and 15% per month respectively.

TalkTalk's bad year
March 2015: Suspicious calls reported
Aug 2015: Carphone Warehouse hit
Oct 2015: Site down after attack
Feb 2016: 101,000 leave ISP
Oct 2016: ICO issue £400,000 fine

Those who don't already have Value Line Rental are out of luck, however, as it now counts as a legacy package. It's only available to existing customers if they're renewing it, and it's not available at all with TalkTalk's new packages.

The good news is that customers who want to stick with their old package but have a couple of months left on their existing VLR deal can renew up to 60 days before it expires - so it's possible to lock in at the cheaper price.

But that means signing up to another 12 or 18 months with TalkTalk - and the possibility of more price rises to come.

The options available

As usual, anyone who's not happy with the impending increase in their bills has a couple of options open.

The first is to leave - which they can do penalty free within 30 days of receiving notification of the increase from TalkTalk. Those who receive paper bills will get a letter; those who get their bill via email will be notified that way.

The second is rather unusual: they can ask to be moved to one of TalkTalk's new all-in deals. TalkTalk say about half of their existing customers should be able to switch to one of the new plans, with many able to save by switching.

A third option
Haggle - our guide

As with renewing Value Line Rental, that locks them in to a fresh contract - and for 18 months minimum - but TalkTalk are making a big deal of the fact that the package price people get when they sign up will be fixed for the full term.

As the ISP only introduced their new packages at the start of October, they've told us it's "far too early to have a conclusive idea" of how they're performing, or of how many existing customers are moving across to them.

But, TalkTalk say, "Anecdotally, we've had good feedback from customers - some people are pleased to be paying less each month and value the peace of mind of knowing their broadband price won't increase any time soon."

No inclusive calls

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If moving to one of TalkTalk's new packages is a possible option, bear in mind that none of them come with any inclusive calls, and the only call bundle the ISP offer is for anytime calls at £7.50 a month.

We mention this because those with the old Essentials TV package get free evening and weekend calls, and those with the Plus TV deal get inclusive anytime calls along with their extra channels and better set top box.

The new deals might be cheaper, but Essentials and Plus TV customers who still use their landline to make calls, even only once or twice a week, may well find that they're better off sticking with their existing plan.

Outside any inclusive call periods, everyone will see the cost of making basic calls increase by at least 2p per call from December, reflecting the rise in the prices of the connection fee and per minute charge.

All other call costs are staying the same, however, including the 7.5p per minute access charge for calls to 084, 087, 09 and 118 numbers.

Terminating the contract

Customers who don't follow one of the two methods of avoiding the price hikes outlined above will either need to sit out the remainder of their contract, or face increased early termination fees:

Product Early termination fee, per remaining month
At present From November 4th
Simply Broadband £13.52 £15.50
Essentials / Essentials TV £15.31 £17.50 per month
Plus / Plus TV £22.97 £25
Fibre broadband From £10 to £15 £16

Note that last line regarding fibre broadband.

As we explain in our guide to early termination fees, some providers charge a separate fee for each service we take from them.

TalkTalk, however, have been fans of all-in pricing for longer than it might first seem, as the early termination fees they charge for their main packages cover everything in the bundle, including line rental - unless customers have fibre.

In that case they also need to pay another fee on top of their package termination costs - and depending on which package, and which fibre boost they have, that'll make a significant difference to the price of walking.

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