How to haggle with your TV provider

Family watching TV

If you feel you’re paying too much for your TV package, you have nothing to lose by haggling. You could end up with a great range of channels and save money to boot.

Pulling the plug on your TV provider is one way to save money. But if you don’t want to lose your sports or movie package, or your best streaming services, it may be worth haggling with your provider.

Your TV subscription habit could cost you over £1,000 a year according to MoneySavingExpert. And even if you pay for a package with Sky, BT or Virgin Media, you may well have signed up to streaming services like Netflix, Apple TV or Disney Plus too.

Streamlining your TV package and cutting back on the number of channels you can watch is one obvious way to save. But haggling with your provider can cut the cost too.  

Here’s our tips and tricks to try to haggle down your bill.

Find out when your contract ends

To stand the best chance of a successful haggle, you need to be nearing, or at the end of any minimum contract term.

Check emails and paperwork or contact your TV package provider to find out when your contract ends.  Don’t just rely on your provider getting in touch to tell you. While broadband, TV and mobile companies must do this, you don’t want to get caught out if you miss the email.

Once you know you’re coming to the end of your contract, or within 30 days of it ending, it’s worth starting to work out what you want and shopping around for better deals before tackling your existing TV provider.

Think about what channels you need

Sticking with the same old package is an easy habit to get into. But it’s worth working out whether you really do need the full package you’re currently on, or whether you can cut back.  

Check your TV provider’s website for the latest deals to see what they’re now offering so you can ask them to match this.

Call up and haggle

Haggling can take time, so this isn’t a call to make when you’re in a rush or just have five minutes to spare.

Make sure you’ve got all your details to hand about your existing package and cost, along with a clear idea of what you want, in terms of:

  • More channels for the same price
  • The same for less, or
  • A better deal if you cut back

As with any services like broadband or mobile, it’s worth asking for the disconnections or retentions department rather than trying to negotiate with the first person you speak to. 

These departments are set up to try and keep customers. This means the people working there can usually authorise the biggest discounts. 

It pays to be friendly and polite. You may want to say that you’re happy with the service, but may need to switch to a cheaper provider to save money. This can often open negotiation. 

Haggling tactics

Ask for what you want. Whether it’s the same deal for less, or if you’ve seen your existing provider is running a cheaper offer for new customers from your existing provider, ask if they can match this.

Play the loyalty card. If you’ve been with the same provider for several years, even if you regularly haggle down the cost on renewal, they may be keen to keep you. 

Ask if you get a better deal and cheaper price if you sign up for longer. Contracts may typically be anything from 12 – 24 months. And if you’re prepared to sign up for two years, you may get a better deal than if you opt for a shorter contract.

If you’ve had problems over the past year or recently joined and the company made a mess of the installation, all this is worth mentioning as a good bargaining tool.

Consider a bundle deal

If your TV provider won’t budge on price, it’s worth asking if they’ll throw in other services, like broadband for free, or even a reduced cost. Having several services with one provider saves money compared with paying separately for each service.

Don’t give up if you don’t get what you want

If you can’t get the deal you want – or the discount you’re being offered isn’t as much as you hoped – you can always say you’d like to ‘think about it before switching providers’.

Depending on the deal you’re being offered, it may be worth switching to another provider, or you could try giving cancellation notice by phone.

When I did this with Virgin Media a couple of years ago, they were back in touch within days. They offered me a better deal, even though I’d already given notice to leave. However, there’s no guarantee this will happen, as each provider handles things differently.

If you want to negotiate better deals, don’t stop at TV. Here’s how to haggle with your broadband provider.

The best TV companies to haggle with

If you’re up for haggling, you may have more success with some companies than others.

According to a poll by MoneySavingExpert, here’s how much joy you may have haggling with certain TV, broadband and home phone providers:

Provider (with total votes) No success 'Small' success 'Big' success Total success
Virgin Media (748) 15% 27% 58% 85%
Sky (1,133) 16% 34% 50% 84%
TalkTalk (208) 23% 39% 38% 77%
Plusnet (185) 35% 45% 20% 65%
BT (684) 36% 39% 25% 64%
Vodafone (150) 41% 39% 20% 59%
EE (196) 43% 34% 23% 57%
Shell Energy (72) 63% 29% 8% 37%