Super switcher: TV & broadband: be brave and ask
For Elaine Cassells of Rathfarnham in Dublin, the decision to change TV and broadband provider was a straightforward one. A Virgin Media customer, she noticed that the TV set-top boxes originally provided by the company were developing problems so she needed to make contact anyway.
"One of the boxes we had was slowly dying - every now and again we'd try to watch something we had recorded and the picture would just freeze. At the same time, we got a notice telling us our monthly charges were going up by something like €5," she says.
"Meanwhile, a friend of the family told us he'd gotten a good deal from Virgin when he threatened to leave so I decided to ring up and see what could be done."
Initially a customer service representative said they couldn't do much for her as all their special offers were for new customers. He offered to drop the bill from €108.50 to €94 a month for phone, broadband and TV.
However, when Cassells volunteered to sign a new 12-month contract, everything changed and she was transferred to the company's loyalty programme. "Who even knew they had a loyalty programme? I'd been with them for years and I didn't."
The upshot of the interaction was that Cassells was offered a new deal - a reduced number of channels but also a reduced bill from €108.50 to €69 per month for six months and then €84 from then on.
In addition, she got two new set-top boxes and a brand new modem to replace the older one that had started to overheat. She was also offered a new advantageous deal on her mobile phone costs.
"The moral of the story is if you don't ask, you don't get," says Cassells.