In The Living Room: Negotiate Your Cable Bill In 5 Easy Steps
You know the scene: We'll pop some popcorn, collapse on the couch, and flick on the TV (sometimes wine is involved, too). After a minute or so, we find ourselves wondering why, with 300 channels, there's nothing to watch. So then we use the internet to find local movie times or browse the offerings on-demand.
Between cable, internet, and on-demand services, that popcorn-fest can get pricy. It's not hard to spend $125 per month on cable, internet, a phone landline, on-demand service, and more.
Pay As A Bundle.
If you have a television set, you can access basic network channels like ABC and NBC without a monthly charge. You simply need to have a digital TV or a digital converter. If you know that you want access to premium channels like Bravo or MTV, you have the option to pay for your cable service in a bundle with your internet and phone services. For instance, at the time of this writing, the Verizon FiOS Triple Play bundle includes phone, internet, and television service for $89.99 per month…for the first year. Read the fine print: After a year, that number jumps to $130 per month. That's not to mention all of the taxes and fees.
Is Premium Worth The Premium?
If you currently pay for premium cable services, test out whether you really use them by calling your provider and putting the service on "vacation mode." Although you'll still receive basic service, you'll save temporarily on the extras while you get a good sense of whether you miss them.
Everything Is Negotiable.
Same way that you negotiated your phone bill yesterday, call up your cable company today. We know people who have saved $50 off of their bills every month simply because they negotiated. Before your call:
Start with a goal in mind, a measure of success. It could be a competing offer from another company or even the introductory offer of your own company.
Don't just call up the normal customer service reps. Instead, ask for the cancellation department, and they'll probably send you to the customer retention department. Say that you're considering eliminating service altogether; this department has the best deals on hand to keep you as a customer.
Let the rep know that you've done research, tell him the rate you're hoping for, and threaten to leave. If he insists that, despite higher prices, his company is the best, try saying that you're familiar with and satisfied by the other company's service.
If the rep offers you different services or promotional upgrades, look for the thorn. After a trial period will the price go back up? If you're okay with that, remember to mark your calendar for the date to cancel the promotion.
Be assertive. Don't take the first small price decrease they offer you.
- Take the LearnVest Cable Quiz to figure out the right angle for you when you call up the cable company.
- Read your most recent cable bill to find out how much you're spending and whether your services are bundled already
- Call your cable provider and try to negotiate down your bill.