TalkTalk walks the talk, scraps separate line rental charges

TalkTalk has finally walked its talk and has announced that it is scrapping separate line rental charges which, until now, gave subscribers the impression that broadband services were cheaper than they actually were.

TalkTalk also announced its new  ‘all-in pricing’ plan which will be implemented this autumn and will club line rentals with monthly broadband tariffs to give customers a clear picture of how much their subscriptions will cost over a longer period of time.

TalkTalk isn't talking about reducing your broadband subscription pricing but is insisting that being aware of how much your subscription will actually cost over a period of time is more important. For example, if you can spend £20 a month on your broadband subscription and pick a deal which a service provider says will cost you £20 a month, you will in fact end up paying a lot more in a year than your actual budget. As per TalkTalk, separate line rental charges are the major culprits which make subscribers miscalculate the actual cost of their subscriptions.

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“As long as line rental and broadband are priced separately, the temptation to advertise deals in this way will always be there. But it’s time for providers be honest about this - it’s a bad habit we have all been guilty of, it doesn’t serve customers well and it’s time it stopped. That’s why we agree with the Government, the consumer groups and the ASA; and why we called on the regulator, Ofcom, last year to address the problem," said Tristia Harrison, TalkTalk’s Consumer Managing Director.

“We want to make things simpler and fairer for customers. People deserve to know they are getting value for money and, as the value for money provider, TalkTalk is going to fight hard to ensure customers get the transparency they deserve. But TalkTalk can’t do this alone. Until other providers follow our lead, households across the UK risk being misled by seemingly good deals that all too often mask extra charges,” she added.

TalkTalk is probably the first network operator to have come clean on the separate line rental pricing issue. What broadband service providers have done so far is to advertise the monthly cost of broadband services while staying mum about line rental charges. TalkTalk is planning to end this once and for all. The operator has pledged that it will continue to send itemized bills to customers and will empower them to manage and track their broadband usage through its mobile app.

Broadband pricing can be misleading, says Ofcom research

TalkTalk's announcement came not long after Ofcom and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said that broadband pricing in the UK is misleading and subscribers end up paying a lot more than they think they will. Both government bodies conducted a research back in January which revealed that only 23 per cent of participants were able to correctly guess the monthly cost of a broadband contract after viewing an ad. An astounding 81 per cent couldn't calculate the total cost of a contract either and 74 per cent believed that information regarding ongoing costs after introductory periods were very unclear.

Based on the findings of the research, the ASA is set to release new recommendations on broadband pricing by the end of this month. Even though ASA's recommendations will go some way to address broadband billing issues, consumers will also need to double check what they are paying for and if they're aware of all hidden costs that come with their subscriptions. The icing on the cake, however, will be the day when all broadband service providers will undertake not to separate line rental charges from monthly broadband costs.

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