TalkTalk could lose customers as prices rise


TALKTALK'S latest price hike could lose them customers as the provider allows everyone to leave their contracts penalty free.

The budget broadband and calls provider increased their prices for new customers yesterday and announced that current customers will see bills go up in May and again in June.

Under new rules laid down by the telecommunications regulator, that means that any TalkTalk customers who signed up on or after January 23rd 2014, or about 3,000 households based on TalkTalk's last reported sales figures*, must be allowed to leave without facing a penalty.

However, TalkTalk are allowing any of their four million or so customers who are unhappy with their new prices to leave their within 30 days of being told about the increase.

Since TalkTalk's success is very much tied to their low prices, many may choose to do just that.

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Even with today's price increases, however, TalkTalk's position in the market remains the same: they're offering some of the cheapest deals around.

TalkTalk prices add on the pounds

With that in mind, let's take a closer look at these new price increases.

As you can see below, the majority of the increases are just £1, although Plus TV customers will see their bill go up by at least £3 a month.

TalkTalk deal Current price Price from May 1st 2014
Simply Broadband £2.50 £3.50
Line rental pay monthly £15.40 £15.95
Line rental pay annually £126 (£10.50 a month) £141 (£11.75 a month)
Essentials package
(Broadband, calls and TV)
£5 for six months
then £7.50
£6 for six months
then £8.50
Plus TV package
(Broadband, calls and YouView TV)
£10 for six months
then £15.50
£13 for six months
then £18.50

Plus TV is going up by so much partly because TalkTalk are adding extra features: from April, Plus customers will be able to watch seven Sky TV channels including Sky 1, Sky Living and Sky Arts as well as the seven day catch up and pause, rewind and record features they get now.

In addition, TalkTalk call bundles will also go up in price, all of the following will increase by £1:

Two other talk packages will also increase in price. Talk UK Weekend BB (by £1.40) and Talk 3 BB (by £1.21).

All in all, it's not the worst price hike we've ever seen but it does put TalkTalk a little behind the cheapest providers.

Currently, Primus Saver is £1.20 a month; Tesco and EE have £2 a month for 12 months (£6 a month thereafter) and Plusnet is £2.99 a month for a year (£9.99 thereafter), for example.

Those prices don't include line rental but neither does TalkTalk's £2.50 (now £3.50) headline rate and TalkTalk line rental is now some of the most expensive on the market that doesn't make a lot of difference.

Compare TalkTalk with other providers more broadly in this guide.

Note also that TalkTalk have also bought in two price decreasing moves.

The Anytime call bundle will be £5 instead of £5.50 and, slightly bizarrely, customers can now get 15% off their bill by paying within 24 hours of their bill being issued online.

The rule only applies to those that don't pay by direct debit or standing order, a fairly small minority, however.

Leaving without penalty

Normally, leaving in the middle of a broadband contract means paying for at least some of the remaining contract months, though, under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations Act 1999, broadband providers can't actually charge the whole amount.

Instead they'll usually have the household pay the equivalent of a reduced monthly cost.

For example, TalkTalk generally charge £6 for every remaining month for their Simply Broadband customers (including line rental that deal is £19.45) so if a customer had six months left on their term they'd have to pay TalkTalk (6 x £6) £36.

Given these fees, which would be enough to put most people off leaving their contract even with a price increase, TalkTalk are being quite brave by letting customers leave. Other providers have gone to great lengths to do the opposite.

In statements they've given surrounding these announcements, the provider has sought to emphasise that they believe their deals are still offering good value, especially compared to their competitors and considering how much usage on their network has increased.

TalkTalk traffic hits 1TB mark

For example, in the last three years traffic on the TalkTalk network has increased threefold over the past three years.

In February this year, TalkTalk saw 1Tbps traffic at peak, although that's still less than other providers, Virgin Media's traffic peaked at 1.67Tbps in January this year, for example.

In terms of individual households, TalkTalk report that their average home now downloads 34GB a month.

That's 46% more than a year ago and 22% more than 3 months ago, the provider reports.

* In Q3 of the financial year 2013/14, TalkTalk added 7,000 new customers (excluding connections acquired from Post Office broadband) so in a month and a half we'd expect about 3,000 new adds. This is just an estimate. For example, it may be more considering that many households switch services in the New Year.


1 December 2015
Phil Atkinson

I have been a TalkTalk customer for a few months. Since the data breach in October I would like to exit my contract without any penalty. They have said that my bank account data has been stolen but I still cannot leave; furthermore, they have just upped my prices which I find a disgrace. I no longer trust TalkTalk with my banking information, which they have already shared with parties that were not authorised by myself; I have therefore just cancelled my direct debit. If this was the first time there was a data breach I would be much more understanding but this was the third time in 1 year; extremely disappointing.

6 December 2014

We have the legal right to leave early, but they don't make it easy. I cancelled and have already started with a new ISP. But now I'm getting emails from TalkTalk saying my final bill will be £156.03 for an early termination fee. Today alone I've spent 3 hours on the phone and roughly 2 online talking to their "support staff" and as soon as I explain the problem I suddenly get the response "our systems are down and we are unable to assist you".

18 November 2014

Not to mention the new price increases coming this December 2014! They take the mickey.

18 October 2014

Hi, my son has TalkTalk Simply broadband and line rental, he signed an 18 month contract in April this year. His partner has left him so he has to give up their flat so will no longer need TalkTalk as he is coming back home. Can anyone tell me if he will have to pay a penalty? Many thanks

16 September 2014

I upgraded my TalkTalk broadband and phone, they offered me a TV box, which I didn't want, but it was free, so I agreed. I paid £114 last year for the line rental, now they have increased it to £172.20! That's a crazy increase that I cannot afford.

I feel like I have been ripped off, it seems like they have set me up, because if I want to leave now there will be all sorts of charges.

12 August 2014
Stephen Beswick

I received a new bill for my annual line rental, from £114 last year to £172.20 now, a 56% price increase. I found the same annual upfront line rental with the Post Office for £120 a year. TalkTalk told me my contract, made in April this year, was not up until April next year and I have it in writing from them, they demand £74 payment to enable me to move to the Post Office. I thought this practice was against the Ofcom rules?

22 August 2014
Choose team

Hi Stephen,

As we understand it, the Ofcom rules say that networks cannot increase the subscription charge for services without giving customers a months notice and the option to leave without penalties or fees. Unfortunately, pay upfront line rental is not part of this core monthly subscription cost so the rule doesn't apply here. Cancellation fees still apply if you're in contract.

3 August 2014
Jay Smith

This seems like a lie. My annual line rental ended and I was never told of price increases and now I don't have a dial tone but do. I have bad dialup speed Internet. Nothing but problems since I joined, even BT Openreach said it's a terribly noisey line. Then TalkTalk charged me £50 twice for no reason and could not give me a reason, but then credited my account for "goodwill".

Scam artists...

I'm thinking of switching to Sky as they are offering a deal of £3.75 a month for a year, saving me £20 a month total (including the line rental cost compared to TalkTalk) and they estimate a higher speed and free new line install.

I just worry about TalkTalk scamming me again with fees that shouldn't exist... again.

8 May 2014

I think it's wrong. I cancelled box office as it was a waste of time and to save on my bill. Now they have added box office to my Plus plan for free they say, but to allow for that my bill goes up. So it is not free. Also I never use my landline, but to get all the other benefits of Plus TV I have to pay for the unlimited call plan. It's all a con and costing more and more. I have been a loyal customer, I won't be anymore. I'm off to find a better decent deal that doesn't rip us off with hidden costs from so called free updates to the service.

8 July 2014

I have been with TalkTalk for a few months now, our internet never works and our phone line is always crackly! Apparently they have sorted it a few times now! Shocking service. Will definitely be changing.

10 November 2014

Ditto... I have an engineer coming out for the third time on Saturday, if it's still not working (which I know it won't be) I'm off and this price increase is the perfect excuse.

5 August 2014

Same here - terrible service, have contacted them and keep saying about being charged for this and that - I can't wait to leave them, never known anything like it. When I signed up I was also given false information, told me it would cost me £300 to cancel. Also paying for TV that you can't even watch! Never again!

3 August 2014
Jay Smith

According to their logs I've had 4 faults the past year.

My router says it detected 48266 faults and errors with noise on the line. But Openreach, during line install, said it was a terrible line for broadband and was not happy that TalkTalk ordered him to leave it as it was ok on their end.

My current speed is 0.73Mb and the record in past week is 2.43Mb... I'm meant to get 8-9Mb.

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