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Worried about rising TV service charges? Read these money-saving tips

Both UPC and Sky Ireland have said customers will face price hikes – in some cases as high as 14 per cent.

Image: watching TV image via Shutterstock

IF YOU READ reports today about rising TV service charges at UPC and Sky, you might be worried about how it’s going to impact on your bank balance.

A number of UPC customers have been sent letters informing them of increases of up to 14 per cent, introducing a hike of €4 in its basic entry value package. The company told TheJournal.ie that increases would average around 4.5 per cent, depending on the service.

It said it was introducing this “necessary increase” because of rising costs in overall programming and operating costs.

Sky has also confirmed that the majority of its customers will see a €1, or 3.7 per cent price increase from next month.

We asked the National Consumer Agency (NCA) what people should do if they are worried about rising bills and they said the best way to save money may be to switch TV service providers. Research published last year found that 52 per cent of those who switched saved money with average savings of €23.91 a month or €286.92 a year.

Making the switch

“If consumers have been affected by recent price increases they should check and see if they can get a better deal either from their existing provider by considering bundling services or from another provider if they can switch,” the agency recommended. “By doing some research consumers can see if they are getting the best deal for them. If consumers are in a fixed term contract, they will need to review this before considering switching.”

If you’re thinking about switching, here are some tips on how to get the best deal:

  1. Before you start, it is worth gathering information on what exactly you need. You can start by checking with your current provider to see if there is a more suitable package. You can then contact other providers to see what packages they have available that suit your needs and what the costs are.
  2. If you decide to change providers, remember that you will need to cancel any existing contract that you have. Check the terms and conditions of your contract to see how you go about doing this. Pay particular attention to any notice period that might be required when cancelling and any costs for early cancellation.
  3. If switching or beginning a new contract always check the operator’s terms and conditions before signing up to make sure you’re happy with them.

Whatever service provider always check:

  • The length of the contract they are signing up to;
  • If you are getting an introductory offer, how long does it last and what will the price be after the offer ends?;
  • Can you change the package later on and would there be a cost?
  • Would bundling services be better value (eg using the same provider for broadband, TV and phone) – always check contract terms before switching.

The Consumers Association of Ireland (CAI) has also advised people to consider free TV services in the market.

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