Are free broadband deals too good to be true?

A very common question we’re asked at the Bills Club is “Supplier X is offering a year’s broadband for free. What is the catch?”, which is an excellent question. Why would any company give something away for free when the whole point of a company is to make money?

So what’s going on? Why is a year’s broadband being given away? What’s the catch?

Well, yes, there is a catch and a catch which means they’ll make more money from you than if you paid for your broadband. As with any free service deal, the devil is in the small print, and in the case of the free broadband deals there are a few points where they make their money back:

  1. You must switch your phone line rental to them – Check the price of the line rental in the “free” deals, it is often much higher than other suppliers.
  2. You must switch your phone calls to them – Again, like the line rental, the price of calls can be much higher than what you would pay from other suppliers.
  3. High call set-up costs – When you make a call, as soon as someone answers, you are charged a call set-up charge which, again, if often very high in these deals.
  4. Minimum term contract – You’ll usually be asked to sign a minimum term contract, which is usually a sign of poor value.
  5. Non-fibre only – These deals are often non-fibre optic broadband only. If you’re a low broadband user then that may suit your needs but if you have children or enjoy streaming video or music then fibre optic may be more appealing and you could find yourself stuck under contract on a slow connection while the price of fibre optic falls.
  6. No or poor quality router – Make sure your agreement supplies a good quality router, if one is supplied at all!
  7. Penalty charges – As with any agreement, make sure you check the terms and conditions for any exit charges.

So, with any “Free” deal, be very careful and check all the terms and conditions as they can end up costing you far more than paying for the service. And, of course, don’t forget that you can contact us at the Bills Club for a free and impartial view.

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