29 January 2010

how to negotiate with your cable provider

So, I just received my bill for this month's cable and internet, provided by a major national cable company. For those of you who do not know our family, my husband serves in the United States Army, and thus we are a proud Army family. So we moved to our current post about a year ago.

Moral of the story, we've been here for a year, thus we've had all our utilities for about a year. Well for those of you who have gotten a great deal on cable may have had the same experience that I had today. I open my cable bill, and it's about $45 dollars more than what we usually pay! I am perplexed, call our cable provider, only to find out that our "great deal" was only a 12 month deal. Ugg, now I sware that they never told us that it was a 12 month-only deal, and I told the nice lady on the other end of the phone as such. I also told her that if I HAD known that, I would have looked at other providers. Thinking back on it now, there's a small chance they did mention it, or put it in tiny writing somewhere, but I have the memory of a goldfish {and for those of you who don't know, that's a whopping 3 seconds}. Anyhoo, I ask the lady, "well, is there any way I can get back our 'great deal' or do you have any other discounts available?!" I might have been a bit brusk, but she went ahead and there was indeed two discounts available to us. Whoohoo! Now it only saves us $15 a month over what we would have been expected to pay, but it also means our cable/internet bill only went up $30 as opposed to $45. So it's certainly better than it could have been.

My thought process through this whole thing was, "now just a month ago I was paying X dollars, and the cable company was doing just fine. Thus there is no reason I should be now paying X + 45 dollars, because obviously they can still provide the service without the extra $45." Am I wrong? Ridiculous. Oh yes, and I may have told the lady on the other end of the phone at some point that this was indeed ridiculous... maybe I shouldn't have mentioned that, but, well, I was heated at the time.

So what can you learn from my experience? What can you do if your rates for a particular utility go up unexpectedly? Well, let me share!

  • wait a while to cool down before you make any phone calls, you get more flies with sugar than vinegar
  • do your homework, look at other potential providers you could switch to that have better rates
  • do your homework, check if your OWN provider has a discount or promotion currently going on
  • ask if there are any new discounts available that you can take advantage of
  • mention that there are indeed other providers you could switch to, but that it would certainly be easier to keep your business with them
Now these are just a few things that can help you if your rates suddenly jump, and all because a promotional period has expired on your current contract. Hey, it's worth a shot, right? And hey, we're now saving $180 a year just by making a 15 minute phone call. It may not seem like all that much, but that's money we can instead put toward tithing, missions trips, or other disasters, such as Haiti.

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1 comment:

Bugtheteacher said...

When I had the same issue a few weeks ago I called and had basically the same conversation. The man told me "oh you had the rate that you get when you call and say hey so and so is at the door offering me this or that rate can you beat it?" I told them what the recent offer was from the other company and the could not completely match it but instead of my rate going up by 50 or 60 it went up by $10.
I did remember having that conversation with them I had not said so and so was at my door but said that I had called and this other company offered xxx I would rather stay with you but will switch if I need to.