Thirteen Minutes to a Lower Cable Bill

by Stacy Johnson on 29 October 2009 20 comments

Geico has become famous for their expression: "Save 15% in 15 minutes."  Turns out that expression applies to more than just car insurance.  Becasue you can easily save 15% in 15 minutes on something even more expensive: your pay-TV bill.

The average cable bill is now close to $100 bucks a month..an increase of nearly 80% in the last 10 years. But you may have more control over this bill than you think.

If you want to pay less for cable, it may be as simple as asking for a lower bill. Here's exactly what you do. 

Step one: Decide what you really want. If you’re not watching those expensive movie channels, dump em. If you’re a movie buff, a service like Netflix may offer more recent movies at a lower price anyway.

Step two: Do the research. Surf the web and see what deals are out there for new customers, both for cable and satellite.

Step three: Call your current provider and ask for the cancellation department. Tell them you're thinking about cancelling becasue you can get a much better deal from their competitor. Then ask what they're willing to do to keep you as a customer. 

I tried this and it worked beautifully. I called Comcast's cancellation department armed with deals to be had on satellite. They immediately offered me a $10 a month credit for 6 months…$15 when I asked for a supervisor. The call took 13 minutes total. Not bad to save $90.

Pay TV providers are getting more competitive because of the crummy economy, competition and free shows online. Not to mention the fact that they charge way too much to begin with. So this is a solution that will probably work for you. 

Bottom line? Sometimes the best way to save money is also the easiest. You just find cheaper alternatives, then you call the expensive service on the phone and ask for a better deal. It works...if you work it.

 

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Guest's picture

Do you thing that this steps can be done in other country ,with low-level market ?

Guest's picture
Ghosts say Boo

Another tip...if you get a 6 or 12 month promo, add a note to your Google calendar with an e-mail reminder for when it's going to expire.

I should get a notice a month before my $20/month Comcast internet disappears. That will give me the time I need to find another great deal.

Guest's picture
Rick

Save even more my canceling completely. I did this over two years ago. If I want to watch a movie then I rent one for $1 from Redbox.

Guest's picture

Thanks for the tips. I'll be moving in just over a week so these tips are very timely. I'll have to call the cable anyways, I might as well research competitors' offers and play a little hardball.

Guest's picture
Guest

You can also get a basic cable package. Ours runs for just under $14/month plus taxes. We have little kids and little time for TV. We realized we normally just watched the main networks if we watched TV and rent movies when we don't or watch shows online. We have found the package is not usually advertised and oftentimes you still get the expanded channels because they don't send someone to switch it over. We have had this experience many times in several different houses we have lived in across the country in the past 5 years.

Guest's picture

Comcast is pretty good with cutting your bill. I had a promotional rate when I started with them, for 12 months. When the period was up, I would call back and ask if they had any new available promotional rates, and I was given those lower rates with no problem. Sometimes a package was thrown in for free. However, I wasn't fond of their customer service otherwise, for problems with service.

Guest's picture
mr loan

Great post - I think the same could be applied to many other kinds of expenses & bills as well!:)

Guest's picture
Guest

Don't even bother trying to deal with them. You just get a run around. And a maze of "offers" that really do not save you anything. (They ALWAYS try to upsell you something else and there are so many fine print details...you usually get royally messed with.)

That said, you should always check that you have the lowest "package" where applicable if you have more than one service from them (Cable TV, roadrunner, VOIP phone). The only "deals" (if you can call them that, are in the so-called "packages."

We signed up for a two-year contract when they raised rates last year--our only real option. We didn't really "save" anything but we didn't get the increase.

And the way they set up the channels/tiers? A joke, you have to have all three "tiers" to see anything.

Rip-off because they have no real competition in our area. (Verizon is not a factor and DirectTV is banned in apartment buildings due to satellite dish.)

Guest's picture
JuryDuty

The truth is, you can do FAR better than saving 15%. I pay nearly 50% of what my neighbors do for the same service. I pay $75/month for cable, phone and high-speed Internet combined. How? I know what the competitors are offering and I call to cancel AGAIN AND AGAIN until I get a CSR who plays by my rules. NEVER go with the first CSR you talk to unless they offer you a stellar deal.

I literally hang up and dial again and explain that I'm being wooed by competitors and the last CSR only gave me 20% (or whatever) off. But I'm sure they don't want to lose my business. Do this a few times and soon you'll be given a great deal. And if that doesn't work, drop your cable down to basic analog. A few days later you'll get a phone call with a deal "for new subscribers." And it'll always be a killer rate.

Guest's picture
Socal104

Realistically, there are very few channels that most people watch. If it weren't for HBO and the strength of shows like Entourage, True Blood (and on Showtime Dexter), more people would be dropping their cable. We're still not there yet, but I do know of several people that are going with an Internet + Netflix or iTunes.

Is It Time to Dump Our Cable Yet? is the question that a lot of us are going to be asking as streaming content gets better. Amazon, Netflix, and iTunes are all making it that much easier. And if you are only watching 4 or 5 shows a year, its cheaper just to buy those shows a-la carte instead. For movies, its very hard to justify paying $5 a pop on-demand when you can get Netflix or Redbox.

Guest's picture

i am not really a movie and tv guy. Not to say that i never watch them but i dont watch them enough to see the use in having 5 movie channels. i prefer surfing the internet for cheaper goodies and the beauty of this is that i get to use the computer to read or watch what i find, thus further reducing expenses as i dont need to buy a tv

Guest's picture
sanjay

1. Cable tv is sold in packages. For example, you want Noggin, you have to take family BASIC cable which also includes channels 100-199 (want Noggin pay an extra $15 on top of basic JUST for this).

2. "Premium" channels after you have been TOLD you have to do #1 are literally $5 more per channel or $15 more for a package of channels.

3. All of that being said, I'm canceling and renting via netflix. Cable has nothing but the same bad shows that never seem to change from week to week.

Guest's picture
essdee

I have the most basic cable you can get. Most localities require cable companies to offer a very-low-priced plan as part of their local monopoly. Your cable provider won't volunteer that they have this plan; you have to ask for it. But ask for it. It offers the broadcast channels and a few others (C-SPAN, Weather, local access, etc.). It also passes HD signals to my HD TV! That alone can save you a bundle if you don't watch very much TV.

And read your bill. I have high-speed Internet access through my cable provider. Looking at the rate schedule, I found it was cheaper to bundle high-speed Internet with the cheapest cable plan than it was to get just high-speed Internet. It's counterintuitive, but, around here, it's for real.

Guest's picture

This works well even with other services. For a long time in Kenya we used to rely on satelite for internet service. Sometimes this year the first cable landed in Kenya and since we had been expecting cheaper internet, I called my service provider and told them that if they did not reduce my monthly bill I would go to another supplier. They reduced by 10%. If this can work for ISP, then I believe it can work for pay tv.

Guest's picture

Thanks, Stacy. I tried talking to the cable company, and reduced my bill a little.

John DeFlumeri Jr.

Guest's picture

I've done this with credit cards in the past just by asking them to reduce my interest rates but not with my cable company. It's a good idea. I'll try it.

Guest's picture
Bridget

We live in Hot Springs, AR, where there is a small cable company. There is no competition. They don't care what you watch or don't watch. If you want anything other than network TV, you pay what they tell you to pay.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but everyone doesn't have it that easy.

Guest's picture
Guest

I work for Comcast...

They just laid off 1/2 of our workforce because too many people were calling to "downgrade" their service. For those of us that are left. We took a 35% paycut.

Guest's picture
Amanda

We recently called Comcast to tell them that EPB (Electric Power Board) was offering cheaper packages for Fiber Optics that were not introductory rates - they were their regular rates - and that we were going to switch if Comcast did not offer us a cheaper package. We were told that the CSRs are no longer allowed to do that - that they were told they'd be fired if they offer a promotional package to existing customers. Comcast doesn't care about it's loyal customers - we're switching ASAP. Comcast is going to end up bankrupt if they keep up this "our way or the highway" attitude.

Guest's picture
TheRealTruth

Verizon isnt any better. I tried the same method Ive been doing to lower my bills for the last 5 years and they told me to go ahead and cancel. No offer to stay. No promotional rates.

It's the elite 2 % squeezing everyone so that they can make more Billions. Screw em just cancel it altogether and Read....lol