Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Think of the Savings: Negotiating Cable and Internet Bills

Hi there! How was your weekend? We starting brewing a new batch of beer. The plan was to make a blood orange hefeweizen, but blood oranges were nowhere to be found. Instead, we're making an orange mango hefeweizen. It smells good so far, so we'll see how it tastes in a few weeks!

Until then, I'd like to share some negotiating tips when dealing with cable and Internet service providers. Our promotional period recently expired for our Internet service, so I talked with a friend "in the know" to negotiate a new lower price. In the end, we decided to jump for cable and Internet, landing us new customer pricing, so I'll be keeping these tips in mind when our next promo period ends.

According to my sources, the best approach in negotiating a lower cable or Internet bill is to go through the voice prompts for cancelling service. When you go through that voice prompt, you typically get connected to an operator that is a retention specialist. They will often be able to offer more promotional prices in an effort to retain you as a customer. The big companies know that in most cases, making a better deal for you is more cost effective than trying to find a new customer to make up for losing you as a customer.

Additionally, it's good for you to have price points from the competition.  For example, if your cable company has an offer that is less expensive than $43/month just for Internet (what our new cost would be...vom), share that with the customer service rep. If the competition doesn't have a good price, then look at your current provider's price for new customers and ask why you can't get that.

If they still don't budge, ask them what would stop you from cancelling service, and then ordering again for the lower price?  Even if there was a technicality about a recent customer not qualifying for new customer pricing until after X number of months has past, you could suggest that your spouse could sign up instead, and voila, you have a brand new customer :)

Hopefully the service provider will be reasonable and work out a good price for at least another 12 months. My friend used this trick with Company X when he had cable TV with them. He called them specifically trying to cancel service. He didn't even indicate initially that he would stay as a customer if they offered a better than regular price. Then they asked him why he wanted to cancel, and he said that the jump in price won't fit his budget. And voila! Company X could sign him up for twelve months for about the same price that he was at for his first 12 months.

It's also important to note that you might not get the best deal the first time around, especially if you weren't firm in cancelling your service. My friend's friend tried this approach but probably got a regular customer service representative the first time, and a retention specialist the second. So persistence pays off!

Have you ever called your cable or Internet company for a lower price? Even when upgrading to cable and Internet as a new customer, I asked plenty of questions and talked about the competition. I was able to get a few bucks knocked off our bill and some freebies thrown in. If nothing else, it never hurts to ask!
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