Whether you’re a Premier League addict, Game of Thrones anorak, blockbuster buff or just want a straightforward broadband package, Sky is a tempting proposition. However, Sky’s wide world of entertainment comes at a price: over £100 per month once the promotional offers end. So how do you cut your Sky bill?
The bad news is that rates are still going up: the next price hike will hit consumers in April (see below).
The first piece of good news is that strengthens your hand when you threaten to cancel: Ofcom’s rules state that you can exit a deal without penalty if prices rise during your contract (read through its long PDF if you want to fall asleep).
The second piece of good news is there are a few, perfectly above the board, ways to trim a significant amount off of your monthly Direct Debit. And the process couldn’t be simpler – just pick up the phone, open a live chat window or click through a couple of pages online. Here’s The Big Tech Question‘s guide to cutting your Sky bill.
Cut my Sky bill: Price hikes
Before we move onto the Sky bill “hacks”, let’s begin with a pinch of bad news. In April, you’ll be confronted with another price increase of up to £2.50 per month. That might not sound a lot, but any change to your contract should make you ask yourself a few hard questions: “Am I getting the best deal?”, “Do I really need to spend £10 per month on Sky Cinema?” or “Why do I still support Arsenal?”.
After next month, you’ll pay an extra £1.50 per month for the Sky Original, Variety and Box Sets bundles, while Sky Sports subscribers on a rolling contract will have to fork out an additional 50p.
“That’s okay, I’ve only got Sky broadband. I don’t need any of those fancy channels and can feel incredibly smug about the price rises,” you may mutter, smugly. Well, I’m afraid you’re not immune. Sky’s Broadband Unlimited, Fibre, Fibre Lite and Connect packages will all be increasing by £1.01 a month. If that’s the final straw for you, skip to the “Haggling” section a long way below.
Cut my Sky bill: Spring cleaning
The easiest way to quickly shrink your monthly Sky bill is to get rid of the packages, products or extras you don’t use. The company calls this “downgrading” your account, but I think “spring cleaning” is a better term. Unusually, Sky makes it very simple to do.
- Log into My Sky using your ID
- Click on the Manage tab at the top of the homepage
- Select either the TV or Broadband & Talk sub-tab (underneath the big, bold “Good Morning/Afternoon [your name]”)
- Click on “Manage my TV package”, “Manage my Broadband” or “Manage my Talk”
- You will then see a list of items or packages you can remove
- Select the unwanted item and follow the steps to claw back a few pounds per month
If the product you want to remove isn’t listed in the relevant section, start a live chat with a Sky employee. Being a Sky broadband customer myself, I’ve contacted customer service quite a few times and have always found them to be friendly and, most importantly, fast.
Cut my Sky bill: Customer offers
If the idea of downgrading your TV or broadband package brings you out in a cold sweat, there are other alternatives that could save you money. Sky regularly hands out special deals or upgrades to its existing customers. Here’s how to find them.
- Again, sign into My Sky and click on the Manage tab.
- A new menu will appear near the top of the window. Click on “Offers & Upgrades”, or follow this link.
- If you’re lucky there will be a list of more cost-effective packages. Simply select the one you want and follow the detailed instructions.
- If you’re unlucky, like me, you will get the message below – which means you should scroll down to the “Haggling” section of this article.
Cut my Sky bill: Now TV
If you’re a Sky TV subscriber who only watches a handful of programmes on, say, Sky Atlantic or is only interested in watching the very biggest football matches, Now TV could be a viable option.
Owned by Sky, the streaming service offers “TV Passes” that amalgamate the best Sky content for a fraction of the price of a subscription. Moreover, you can watch Now TV on your laptop, PC, tablet, smartphone, games console and, of course, smart TV.
Here are the company’s streaming packages:
- Entertainment (£7.99 per month): The Cadillac of Now TV passes, this gives you 11 channels (including Sky One, Sky Atlantic, Sky Arts, Comedy Central and, best of all SyFy), as well as 300 boxsets, for the same price as a Netflix subscription.
- Sky Cinema (9.99 per month): If you’re already signed up to Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, this package might be a tougher sell. However, there are plenty of new releases such as Get Out and John Wick: Chapter Two, as well as classics like Forrest Gump. That said, I still wouldn’t pick it over the Entertainment pass.
- Kids (£2.99 per month): Sick of Peppa Pig and PAW Patrol? There’s a wide variety of flashier, usually American series on the Now TV Kids pass. Dexter’s Laboratory is worth the £2.99 alone.
- Sky Sports (a day pass is £7.99, a week is £12.99 and a month is £33.99): Given the big-bucks nature of modern football, it’s unsurprising that the Sky Sports package is the most expensive by far. However, it can still be useful if there’s a Premier League or boxing match you’re desperate to see.
It’s also worth looking out for promotional deals. For example, there’s a Pringles offer that gives you a Sky Sports day pass for the price of two tubes of its processed-potato snack.
If you’re still unsure, you can sign up for a free, month-long trial of a Now TV Pass, which is more than enough time to chain-watch at least 20 boxsets…
Cut my Sky bill: Haggling
It’s fair to say that us Brits aren’t renowned for our haggling prowess. When confronted with a ludicrously priced product – be it a car, watch or even gin and tonic – the default response tends to be “that’s great, thanks”.
Sky, on the other hand, actually likes to haggle. That might be an unusual trait for an international behemoth of a
former monopoly company, but if you press the correct buttons and drop the right phrases, it will shave money off of your monthly Sky TV and/or broadband cost. And we’re not talking about a penny here and there, but potentially a 20% or 30% discount in certain cases.
You can haggle via the live chat box, but there’s nothing quite like the raw emotion of the human voice so it’s worth dropping them a line at either 03337594464, 03300413018 or 03332022135 (to get straight through to the mysterious “customer retentions department”).
However, before you even pick up your smartphone, make sure you’re going into the conversation in a position of strength. Although you can try to negotiate in the middle of your contract, we’d recommend calling towards the end of the minimum 12-month period. It means that when you say “I’m thinking of cancelling and am exploring other options”, your words carry real weight.
So, once you’re ready to take the plunge, what should you say to start the ball rolling? Well, there are no official rules – what works for one customer might not for another – but politely explain that your current deal is too expensive and that you’re thinking of going with a rival ISP or cancelling your Sky TV contract.
We can’t emphasise enough how important it is to be polite and friendly. It might sound like a given, but if you call up and are the verbal equivalent of a bull in a china shop, the Sky employee is far less likely to be understanding and offer you a discount – which is absolutely fair enough.
Numerous Sky TV customers have reported that repeatedly dropping the word “Freeview” really helps as it shows that you know what you’re talking about. For example, you could try “I think we could just make do with Freeview. We only really watch BBC One and Two anyway”. It’s the very opposite of what Sky wants you to think and say.
If you want to politely turn the screws, you could threaten to cancel (or, if you’re incredibly brave, go through with it – see “The nuclear option” section below) or say that you feel like you’re being taken for granted as a customer.
To get the best results, you could also play a sad tune on a tiny violin.
“I completely understand and I’m happy to tell you that we can offer you a discount of…” Try to resist the urge to punch the air and immediately shout “yes” When Harry Met Sally-style when you’re offered a discount.
Instead, be calm and say something like “I’m not sure – I’ll have to talk to [insert name here] and we’ll get back to you.” This may pay dividends straight away in the form of a new, often much lower, offer.
Of course, the Sky employee could always call your bluff or simply be unable (or unwilling) to give you a discount. If that’s the case, don’t give up hope – keep trying. That doesn’t mean spamming the helpline by calling every five minutes, but trying once a month or every couple of months. Don’t try to rush the process.
Cut my Sky bill: The nuclear option
Technically, this option should part of the “Haggling” part above, but it’s dramatic enough to warrant a “nuclear option” section. In short, if you’ve got the stomach for it, MoneySavingExpert reports that users have even gone through with their cancelling threats and then been offered a 50% discount on their broadband and Sky TV.
However, we really wouldn’t recommend taking this step as it can backfire spectacularly. The 50% is by no means a secret Sky rule and circumstances will vary from customer to customer. If that warning still hasn’t put you off, good luck and godspeed.
Image courtesy of William Warby via Flickr