The? Calls on broadband companies to do more to promote offers to the most financially vulnerable customers, with some saving even more
Customers eligible for a social plan could save an average of £250.32 a year – £20.86 a month – by switching from their current broadband plan to the cheapest social plan, research by The? shows.
Millions of the most financially vulnerable could be missing out on hundreds of euros a year because many providers do not regularly advertise cheaper social tariffs on their social media or when signing up for services.
Social tariffs are special discount offers for certain low-income customers. However, many broadband customers are unaware that they might be eligible The?.
For example, the average Hyperoptic customer could save £344.16 annually by switching to the company’s cheapest social plan, while the average Virgin Media customer could save £321.60 and BT customers £284.52.
Part of the reason Hyperoptic and Virgin Media customers have the greatest savings potential is because the providers offer some of the fastest speed connections on their standard plans, while also offering some of the cheapest social plans available.
NOW Broadband and Sky customers can make smaller – but still significant – savings of £128.16 and £224.04 respectively.
In February Ofcom warned that only 55,000 of an estimated 4.2 million eligible households had taken out social tariffs.
It urges providers to better promote social tariffs, make information about them clear, and make the sign-up process as easy as possible for eligible customers.
Ofcom has also urged providers who currently do not offer a social tariff to do so.
For the month of May 2022, The? checked the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts of the seven broadband providers that offer social plans – BT, G.Network, Hyperoptic, KCOM, NOW Broadband, Sky and Virgin Media – to see if they could see the availability of these plans in the social advertise media .
It turns out that in the month of May, only one provider had mentioned social tariffs on their social media. KCOM had two tweets and a Facebook post mentioning social tariffs.
The? also examined whether any of the vendors asked customers if they received any benefits, such as
They found that this wasn’t the case until checkout during the sign-up process.
The? said consumers should know and easily access the cheapest deal during the cost of living crisis and that four months after Ofcom’s warning, broadband providers should do a better job of promoting social tariffs to their customers, including on social media.
The consumer rights group also said that to cut bills, the government should reduce the amount of VAT paid on telecoms from 20 percent to 5 percent.
It is estimated that a reduction in VAT could save those on a standard broadband plan up to £57 a year and those on a social plan up to £37.50 a year.
rocio clam, The? Director of Policy and Advocacy, said: “It is unacceptable that broadband providers are not doing more to make customers aware of social tariffs – meaning hundreds of pounds are being spent on millions of households who may be struggling to make ends meet could miss out on savings.
“In a livelihood crisis, broadband providers must support the financially most vulnerable by clearly identifying discounted offers and making it easier for eligible customers to switch to social plans.”
Below you will find a list of some currently available social tariffs and their costs