The Money Mensch
Martin Lewis, 34, is an awardwinning TV and radio presenter, best known for his website MoneySavingExpert.com, whose weekly email has 650,000 subscribers. Each week he shares some useful cash-saving tips for JC readers Cheaper digital TV If you are paying a monthly fee for your digital TV (cable, satellite or Homechoice), then it is possible that one phone call could save you a fortune. Many providers are putting out competitive packages for new customers. Now, don’t worry, I am not going to tell you to switch, as I know this is a hassle. Yet simply picking up the phone to tell your existing provider that you want a much cheaper deal can work. And if it does not, then threaten to cancel. When that happens, it is likely you will be put through to the disconnections department. Yet internally, that same department will be called something like “customer retentions”. The main remit of the people you will speak to is to keep your business — and they have far more power to negotiate. If your provider is offering new customers special inexpensive packages — for instance, NTL’s TV, broadband and phone deal for £30 a month — call up and query why new customers pay less than you. Ask for the same price. You will not always get that deal, but it is highly possible that you will be offered a price reduction. There are rumours that Sky has stopped allowing this type of haggling (I have even heard my own name mentioned as a reason why). But you may at least be able to negotiate a cheap upgrade to SkyPlus or Sky HD. Otherwise, consider if you are getting your money’s worth from your TV package. After all, you can pick up a Freeview digital TV receiver for £20 with no further fee to pay.