10 ways to cut your home phone bill

Couple with phone

British households could save more than £100 a year simply by switching their home phone deal, a survey from homephonechoices.co.uk reveals.

The comparison website's survey has found that nearly half (48.5%) of Britain's home phone customers haven't switched home phone deals in over five years.

Michael Phillips, spokesperson for the website, says despite the majority of UK households having a fixed line phone service, a "disappointing" number review their bills.

"Home phone bills 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," he adds.

Phillips gives the example of Primus Saver, which costs just £7.99 a month and includes free evening and weekend calls.

Spend less on your landline:

1)    Get the right deal

Are you on a tariff that suits your needs and phone use? If not, ask your provider what other options it has on offer.

2)    Consider switching providers

If your provider doesn't have any deals that suit you - or you think you could save more elsewhere, it may be worth changing phone providers.

3)    Don't just go for the big names

Although BT is a British institution its prices aren't necessarily the cheapest. Look at other smaller offerings from companies like Vonage, Primus saver and Plusnet.

4)    Pay online

Just like going paperless is cheaper for energy bills, some providers charge customers less to receive online bills.

5)    Cut out the non-essential extras

Are you paying for extra services like barring of premium rate calls or cheaper international calls that you're not making the most of? Maybe it's time to go for a more basic package.

6)    Read the small print

Don't get stung by penalty exit fees for leaving a contract early. It may still be worth leaving an expensive contract early, but you'll need to do the maths before making a hasty departure.

7)    Pay yearly

Paying off your bill in one go on an annual basis could save you around £30-40 with providers like Primus, BT and Sky.

8)    Take advantage of free minutes

Where possible call people in the designated free calls time slots. Also make the most of any free minutes you have on your mobile phone tariff.

9)    Avoid calling mobile phones

It's a little known secret that calling mobile phone numbers can add significantly to your home phone bills. Where possible make calls to other mobile numbers from your own mobile.

10)     Direct debit is best

This is the payment method of choice for all providers and opting to pay by cheque instead will cost you up to £5 a month extra.


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Your Comments

I was advised by a BT operator that if BT was not my phone provider and there was a problem with the telephone line and a BT engineer had to be called out, then I would be liable for the bill. Was this just a method of putting me off changing my phone provider?

Yes it is. We had this problem earlier this year when the outside line was cut. We were liable because it was on our premises that this happened regardless of who the provider was. If the fault is not on your premises then you are not liable, regardless again of who your supplier is.

The big problem is that it seems that if you use an outside supplier they have to arrange with BT engineers to contact you - and that can take days. You cannot call BT directly - they will refuse the call. If however you are with BT then you can call directly. Whether they respond any more quickly is another matter.

The phone companies are a law unto themselves with no real instrusions and blocking of questionable activities by the appropriate regulatory bodies.  One of the most obscene practices  -  not generally known about by the customers  -  is charging for a call (up to 17p) when the other party is on the phone, a very expensive act if you try to make several calls to that person while they are on the phone!  In the old days if the other party is already on the phone then you would recognise the engaged tone and try later, without incurring a charge.  Now, they charge you for opening the line even if you have no intention of leaving a message, or immediately putting the handset back in its place when the engaged tone is recognised.  They justify imposing an inflated charge (most customers are not aware of this!) by charging for opening the line and then rounding up to a minute's call time, even though it takes no more than a second to recognises when the other party is engaged, resulting in you replacing the handset.   Nice little earner and act of theft!
And then there is the practice of government agencies using a non-geographic number that is not included free into your package.  Blair promised to stop all this, which simply added  to the list of his many lies!