Stuff that matters

Martin Lewis has urged all households not to get an email address with your broadband provider – as it could make it more complicated for you to switch to a cheaper deal elsewhere.

Appearing on ITV This Morning, the financial guru fielded questions from callers – and one viewer named Pauline raised the issue of switching broadband providers.

While Pauline is currently with Virgin Media, she wished to change over to a more favourable deal with Vodafone but felt trapped by her Virgin Media email account.

Virgin Media had warned that her email accounts would be closed following the move, losing access to all of her data and contacts in the process.

Martin said that this would forever be an issue if you set up an email account with your provider, advising the public to break away and create an address using an independent server.

He said: “On Virgin you get 90 days after giving notice. Some providers let you keep it, some don’t.

“This is the classic reason for not setting up your own email address with your provider. You are going to have this issue forever.

“You’re always going to find it difficult to move so here is my tip. Decide today that you’re going to set up, let’s say a Gmail account.

“Start telling everyone you know to email you on Gmail. Auto-forward your current email address to Gmail so that it sends it to your new email address and you should always reply from there.

“Do that for a couple of months until you’re pretty sure about everything and then leave Virgin. That gives you an extra 90 days, and you do need to check that.

“After that you then have the flexibility to move.”

Martin went on to demonstrate the financial benefits of making this shift.

He said that the flexibility to switch to cheaper providers could save up to £300 per annum, making savings of up to £1,000 within a few years.

“It can easily save you up to £200 to 300 a year,” he explained.

“After a few years you could easily be up to £1,000 gained by going to the cheapest provider each time.

“You need to break that habit of allowing them to lock you in by keeping your email. It will be a pain to do so but I suggest you take the time.”

Millions of households are thought to be out of contract with their broadband provider.

Always compare prices to see if you’re getting the best deal – then if you want to leave, make sure you can do so penalty-free.

You could also try haggling your existing provider down in price if you’ve found a better deal elsewhere.