Haggle for cheaper household bills, says Which

Haggle to reduce bills, says WhichPic: Getty

British consumers could save almost £240 a year if they haggled with big brand firms, it has been claimed. According to consumer watchdog Which?, if we'd only ditch that good old-fashioned British reserve and push insurance, broadband and mobile phone companies to reduce their prices, we could be quids in at the end of the year.

The Which? experts saved an impressive £238 in just one hour of haggling, driving hard bargains with the likes of the AA, Virgin and Vodafone, and the consumer champion is urging Brits to do the same.

In a study entitled 'I'm Leaving You', the organisation found that on average, a spot of haggling brought broadband charges and mobile phone tariffs down by £60, while a discount of £40 was achieved on car breakdown services, £36 was knocked off the home insurance bill, and £42 was saved on car insurance.

A previous survey by Which? revealed that many of the 3,579 members who responded were also saving cash by haggling. Some 95 per cent managed to get a better deal from the AA, 92 per cent were given a reduction by Virgin Mobile, 88 per cent got a discount from Admiral Insurance.

Threatening to leave their mobile phone firm achieved a permanent discount on contracts for 60 per cent of customers, while a similar number got a reduction for saying they would switch to another broadband supplier. For a sizeable portion of customers, free equipment or added extras were also offered.

According to the Daily Mail, the report advised: "Whether you're calling the AA or Orange, the message should stay the same - if you're not getting what you want, threaten to take your business elsewhere.

"Most customers have an ideal customer - it's the one who pays their bill like clockwork and never questions their payments creeping up, or the more attractive rates being offered to new customers, or better deals elsewhere. Don't be that customer. It's time to cause a bit of a fuss."

Do you haggle to reduce your household bills? How much success have you had in driving a hard bargain? Leave your comments below...