Mobile News

What mobile phones?

Mobile Phone Haggling: Get the right deal for you  October 22, 2022 – 10:28 pm
Get Our Free Weekly Email!

For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes - join the 10m who get it. Don't miss out

| Edited by

Anyone with a mobile contract that's about to end (or has ended) is wielding a serious MoneySaving weapon: loyalty. Unleash it with a phone call which could save you 100s...

It's all about an easy haggling technique that could get you more minutes, texts or data, cut your monthly line rental charge or even score a handset upgrade. Plus if your network's hiked prices mid-contract you may be entitled to leave penalty-free use that as ammunition when haggling.

'I saved 22/mth on my bill'

In our most recent poll, in November 2016, 68% of mobile customers who tried to haggle told us they were successful in negotiating a better deal, showing what's possible – see full poll results.

Success rates with the big firms were 82% of Vodafone customers, 70% of those with EE, 63% with Three, 55% with O2.

I'm paying 35/mth with EE they called me two months before the end of my contract with an upgrade deal of 22/mth. I asked for less, and they said I'd get my allowance cut for 15/mth. So I said I'll look elsewhere. I found a deal at Carphone Warehouse for my exact allowance for 15.99/mth from. guess who... EE. I rang them again and they offered it to me for 12.99/mth since I've been a customer for a while. forumite Kkaebsong I had a very productive call with O2 where after asking for a PAC code I was offered a discount to 10/mth PLUS 150 credit towards my bill. forumite Phillw @MoneySavingExp Three Mobile are still sending out price hike letters, but 10 minutes haggling slashed 30/mth down to 16. #makeitright. Julian, via Twitter I was repeatedly overcharged by Vodafone, which took six months of calls and further issues to sort. I used this as leverage to get myself a 64GB iPhone 6s for 26/mth with no upfront cost, including 12 months Spotify – 50% off the list price. Thank you to you and your team!! Rhys, via email

A story from Martin

I was an Orange customer and preferred to remain one, as the connection at home and work is good, and the month-long switching hassle at the time was worth avoiding. Yet Orange's packages weren't the market's cheapest.

This is an edited version of my call or better still watch the video, showing how I once put Mrs MSE through her haggling paces. (This happened a while ago now, but the haggling technique works just as well today.)

Martin: Hi, you have a price match promise. Three offers 500 inclusive cross-network minutes, (ie, calling other mobile networks) for 30/month, yet I'm paying that for just 200 minutes with you.

Orange: (as expected) Sorry Mr. Lewis, our price promise doesn't cover Three, so we can't offer you that tariff.

Martin: "That's simply not good enough. While I want to stick with you, unless you can offer me something better, I'm going to have to leave."

Orange: Let me put you through to our specialist disconnections department and see if we can find any way to improve it.

Then I repeated my request to disconnections.

Orange disconnections': I think we can help, we can match that Three tariff for the same price. (Note: Orange's own 400 min package cost 50/month.)

Martin: That's not part of your normal price match plan?

Orange disconnections: Nope, it's a special offer for valued customers. (Sub-text: we'll pull out all the stops if we're going to lose you.)

After that I asked for more text messages and got a bundle on top, then a new phone and was told what do you want? Pick any? So I opted for a snazzy, tiny camera phone, with radio and 3G all, of course, at no extra charge.

While my story is about Orange, it works on other networks too. There are no hard and fast negotiating rules, but a bit of chutzpah and a smile (try it, it's noticeable in your voice even on the phone) works wonders. It's a game, with huge gains on the upside and no loss on the downside.

Step 1. Ask for a better tariff

The first step is the easiest; call up and tell the operator you're unhappy with your existing tariff. There are two choices of argument:

  • Research-based

    Internet price comparison sites such as MoneySupermarket* or uSwitch are perfect for quickly benchmarking prices. Put in your usage details to speedily reveal the cheapest tariffs and packages available. Also worth checking for a more detailed analysis is MobilePhoneChecker* and Billmonitor*, which work out and compare your prior monthly usage.

  • Chutzpah-based

    Alternatively, to just have a go', call up and say "it's too expensive". Ask what the best tariff available is, then if its offer isn't good enough, tell it so. This can work well, as packages better than the best new customer versions, or special extra discounts are sometimes available if you push.

And always remember to request a better package and a phone upgrade too. If you're not given what you want ask to leave.

Step 2. Speak to 'disconnections' actually their priority's customer retention

The crucial part is getting through to what you think is the disconnections department'. Actually, internally most companies refer to disconnections as a synonym for customer retentions'. In other words, its real job is to keep your business and because of that it has much more power and discretion to do it.

Once connected, repeat your request if you seem genuine about disconnecting (and why shouldn't you be? There are better packages out there), you should get a much improved offer matching the market's best openly available tariffs.

Are there any negatives?

This technique involves locking in to a new contract

The mobile world is fast moving, and tariffs are greatly improving, so being locked in isn't good, though it's unavoidable. It is possible to get 12-month contracts but 24-months are more common. Request to minimise the contract period.

This is a one-shot deal

You only have this negotiating power at renewal. Try to change tariff six months into a contract and you won't get the special option. For example, if you negotiate the Three' network 500 minutes a month for 15 deal but then decide 1, 000 minutes for 20 is better, usually you won't be allowed to swap, even though you could've got the deal at negotiation.

hand set


Anker Dashboard Cell Phone Mount, Windshield Car Mount, Phone Holder for iPhone 7/7 plus/6/6s/6 Plus/6s Plus, Samsung S6/edge/S7/S7 edge, Note 5, LG G5, Nexus 5X/6/6P, HTC and Other Smartphones
Wireless (Anker)
  • Adjustable and Secure Fit: Adjustable design expands to fit almost any phone (2.1 to 3.7 inches wide) and keeps it securely fixed throughout your drive.
  • Versatile Viewing: Extendable arm with a 260° arc and the highly-flexible ball-joint provide infinite viewing angles for a more relaxed and safer drive.
  • Secure Mounting: The rubber-coated suction clamp provides a powerful grip that allows you to securely mount your phone on your dashboard or windshield.
  • Easy Installation: Mounting is managed in seconds; just set the mount and push the lever to secure the base.
  • What You Get: Anker Dashboard Car Mount, welcome guide, our worry-free 18-month warranty and friendly customer service.
Lamicall Cell Phone Stand, Lamicall S1 Dock : Cradle, Holder, Stand For all Android Smartphone, iPhone 6 6s 7 Plus 5 5s 5c charging, Accessories Desk - Black
Wireless (Lamicall)
  • The Lamicall Advantage: Suitable height, perfect angle of view when using Facetime and YouTube. Designed with Hightlight Technology.
  • Sturdy & Rubber Protected: Desiged on a low center of gravity makes it stable. Extended hooks keep the phone in safety, and rubber cushions protect the phone...
  • Compatibility: Compatible with iPhone and Android phones in 4-8 inches, like iPhone 6 6S 7 Plus, HUAWEI, Galaxy S7 S6, Note 6 5, LG, Sony, Nexus, Apple phones, even...
  • Exquisite Workmanship: Black aluminum alloy, smooth edge, lightweight, portable, perfectly works with your smart phones.
  • What You Get: One Lamicall S stand, as well as our Lifetime Warranty Service. Offering you a full refund or a brand new replacement if you are not satisfied with...

Related posts:

  1. Best mobile phone number
  2. All Apple mobile phones
  3. Best mobile phone Shops
  4. Smart mobile phones