Because broadband, television and landline telephones are such a competitive market now, it can be hard to choose between all of the pre-packaged deals that are available. one of the ways providers try to entice new customers is by offering freebies.
Some broadband providers offer free products, like tablets, or even vouchers, but most of the broadband providers also offer a certain amount of months free, or even part of the contract free for so many months. While this may seem like a good deal at the time, customers should be careful they are aware of the charges that will come when the full price contract starts. There can often be a lot of confusing small print with broadband, so it is best to check all of this out before you jump at a deal for the freebies alone.
What type of freebies will broadband providers offer?
Free laptops, tablets
Virgin Media are one of the providers that quite regularly offer laptops and tablets as free gifts. This works both ways for broadband providers, as the likelihood is that you are going to use their services on the device. Many broadband providers such as Virgin Media offer free gifts that are based around technology to fit in with the market of the product they are already selling.
Online or high street vouchers are another way broadband providers try to appeal to new customers who are potentially not already in their market. Most of the time this works for both the broadband provider and also for the online store, like Amazon, because customers can only use their vouchers there.
Free parts of the contract
One of the most common form of freebie for broadband providers is offering a certain amount of free months. This is usually between the first six months to the first year. As well as this, broadband providers will often offer a ‘free’ set top box. Although this will seem like something that should already be included in the package, a lot of providers will actually charge for this.
The same goes for installation. Although they want you to have their service, installation still incurs a charge. Offering this free gives providers an edge over the competition who are charging.
What should I check when I sign up?
As much as signing up to a provider for the freebies alone can sound tempting, you also need to be really mindful of what packages you are going to be signing up for when the freebies end. There are lots of things to look out for in the small print for when your contract actually starts properly.
If your broadband works out to a certain amount each month with your ‘freebie’ that is only just affordable, you need to find out for definite how much this will be when your freebie ends. Once you are signed up, the broadband company will have set up automatic payments, so because it will have been in the small print that the lower price was only for a certain time, you will just get automatically charged the full amount on the first month it is due.
Fair usage policy
Be very careful with anything that says ‘unlimited’. Most broadband providers will get away with still having a ‘cap’ on unlimited usage by putting a fair usage policy in place. This means that you will get charged when you hit a certain amount. If you are using the broadband for personal use, it is unlikely you will hit this. If you have signed up to an offer such as ’12 months unlimited free broadband’ for business use you may need to check the fair usage policy to see what the maximum is.
When do the full charges start to incur?
The way some companies decide to work out their billing can be very confusing. Your package start date may not coincide at all with the date that you get paid, or have set up your direct debit to pay for. Find out if you are paying ahead or in arrears. The last thing you want is to be hit with an unexpected bill for the first full paying month without realising this is when it was due.