Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Negotiating Cable and Internet Savings: My Experience

Last year, I shared some tips on how to negotiate lower prices for cable and Internet. At the time, we had just upgraded to cable, which meant we got the new customer rate and didn't need to negotiate anything. Fast forward a year and our promotional period was up. So it was time to call up Cable and Internet Company X to see if these negotiation tips really worked.

Right off the bat, I ignored my own advice of going 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.

Instead, I called customer service since I had some additional questions and wanted to upgrade to HD (though I didn't tell them that initially). As expected, I spoke with a normal customer service rep, not a retention specialist. At first, I didn't have it in me to say we would cancel service for a lower price. I said that the current pricing wasn't in our budget because we had a baby on the way and needed to put those extra dollars towards diapers. The rep offered some lackluster promotions for current customers, so I asked if I could get new customer pricing since I was a loyal customer of several years.

She wouldn't budge, so I pulled out the new customer promotional prices at Competitor Y. I was firm on wanting to stick to our budget, so I told her it would be much easier to save money by switching to Competitor Y. At this point, she transferred me to another rep; what I'm assuming was a retention specialist.

Magically, the second rep was able to offer much better pricing. It wasn't quite as low as the new customer pricing, but we were able to upgrade our Internet speed and add HD for $40 less than what we were currently paying. Yes, I was lax in watching the monthly bills and had let the previous promotional pricing end. That's what happens when you're pregnant and tired.

Fortunately, we're locked into our new, lower price for the next twelve months. And you better believe I have a reminder on the calendar to call back when the year is almost up. Because if I don't, our monthly bill will spike by $50. And nobody wants to waste their money on the same service that the next guy is getting for $50 less.

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