Martin Lewis has issued a warning to the four million Brits who he believes are missing out on receiving cheap broadband deals.
In a recent newsletter, he reminded those on low incomes that they may be able to apply for a so-called 'social tariff' that will save them hundreds of pounds each year. Those who meet the eligibility criteria for these tariffs will see their bills fall to as little as £12 a month.
Martin Lewis' intervention has come at a good time. This is because the majority of broadband providers hiked their prices by as much as 14.4% earlier this month and the country remains gripped by a cost of living crisis.
How do I find a social tariff and am I eligible for one?
At present, 10 different social tariffs are available. These tariffs are mainly aimed at people on Universal Credit. However, people in receipt of Pension Credit are also eligible to receive the majority of these tariffs. Similarly, a decent number are also available to those receiving Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payments.
Each provider has its own eligibility criteria for its social tariffs. Plus, providers also offer different packages and contracts, so you should shop around before you make a commitment.
For example, BT has two different social tariffs available. One is priced at £15 per month while the other (which offers faster speeds) is available for £20 per month. Meanwhile, Vodafone offers an Essentials deal for £12 a month and NOW offers a social broadband package for £20.
If you find that you're eligible to receive a social contract, then you should check whether you can also receive one for your mobile phone contract as well. At present, EE offers its Basics package for mobile phone customers for £12, while VOXI has its own £10 monthly plan.
However, if you're eligible for a social contract and you're currently under contract, then you must be aware that you may have to pay a penalty for leaving your current contract early. If you need to pay a penalty, it's worth phoning your current provider and explaining your current situation. They may be able to move you onto their own social tariff without a penalty or you may be able to haggle with them.
What if I'm not eligible for a social tariff?
If you're not currently eligible to receive a social tariff then the good news is that you may still be able to cut your monthly broadband bill. This is because, if you're currently out of contract, you can switch provider today and lock in a great new rate. This is particularly handy if your current provider has just increased their rates by as much as 14.4%.
Switching provider is simple. Either pop your postcode into the widget below or head over to our top broadband deals page. This way, we can show you the best deals available in your area.
However, if you're currently under contract, then you may not be able to save. This is because you'll likely need to pay a penalty for leaving your current deal early.
If this is the case, it's still worth calling your provider and haggling with them. If this also fails, make a note of when your contract is due to end and make sure you switch at the earliest possible opportunity.