a conversation with the cable company

>> 8.06.2010

For the past year I've been stuck in a bundled cable contract (internet/phone/cable) that costs me, after taxes, a hefty $125 per month. I've known all this time that having the phone line has been a waste, but I've debated whether or not to cancel the cable tv. After a year of watching Bravo reality shows and Tour de France on Versus, it was decided that the cable would stay, but the phone line would still go.

Based off of my monthly statement, it seemed that I would save around $30 by cancelling the phone line.
Sounds like a simple savings, right? Eh, here's a (paraphrased) account of how my conversation with the phone company went:

Me: "Hi, I'd like to update my services."

Time Warner Cable: "Sure, what can we help you with?"

M: "Well, I'd like to cancel my phone line. I just don't use it enough to justify the cost."

TWC: "Okay, well your new monthly bill will increase by $10."

M: "...but I'm removing a service."

TWC: "Yes, but because of promotions..blah, blah... discounts..blah... price goes up"

M: "Well, that price just won't work for me. I'm probably going to be better off going with another company..."

TWC: "Let me see what I can do.   .    .    .     Yes, well, I see there are some discounts that I might be able to apply to your bill. How does $25 less sound?"

I found it interesting how he was able to find those discounts AFTER I mentioned going with another company.

So, in 10 minutes I went from having to pay $10 more for my services to paying $25 less. At $35/ month($420 for the year!), I'd say it was worth the tiny bit of haggling I had to endure!

I've heard this sort of strategy also works with the credit card companies and their interest rates. Have you ever haggled your way into a lower bill?


Mrs. Kat August 6, 2010 at 2:09 PM  

Is is sad that just my cable bill (DISH) is almost $125 on its own? I blame my sports crazy (has to have all of his football/baseball/hockey - I could go on...) games. At the same time, I wouldn't have to give up Bravo!!

Mrs. Kat August 6, 2010 at 2:10 PM  

Ha ha. Meant to say "sports crazy husband" :)

Mrs. Chic August 6, 2010 at 2:17 PM  

Yup! I just did the same with our phone / dish network and internet! With have to keep our phone line for 911 purposes & our alarm system. But I lowered the features and lowered our dish to a more basic channels. To make up for less channels, we use the Netflix Roko and get unlimited movies a month! including tv shows

Gloria,  August 6, 2010 at 2:39 PM  

I have time warner as well but in NY and thats how they get you to keep paying alot of money by saying "Oh but you have Triple play and your saving X amount".

chacha August 6, 2010 at 3:12 PM  

We've done the same thing but usually the discounts are only temporary - like promotional deal. Is this a permanent discount he provided?

We pay 120 for only digital cable and internet - and don't get any special anything (no super-fast internet, no HBO or anything). Adding their phone line would put it up to like 135. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that Texas is cheaper.

Danielle August 6, 2010 at 3:59 PM  

My uncle just found out he can actually SAVE money by adding internet.

He tried saying he would leave if they didn't lower his rates, but they said, "When should we set up that appointment?"

Lydia August 6, 2010 at 4:33 PM  

yes! Definitely call to see what you can make work. After a year of discounts, the 12 month promotions on our internet ended and suddenly the bill was $60 a month. We called and worked through options with the guy and ended up back at $40 and with a faster speed.

Our DirecTV promotions ended increasing the bill by $30. We are working to add a $10 a month "refer a friend" discount back to the bill and after a couple months they told me I should be eligible for discounts again. There were lower package options but with HD and DVR included in our current one(not willing to give those up), it is a hard sell to go lower on the package. . .instead we'll focus on haggling what we already have!

Hillary @ The Sweet Maple Life August 6, 2010 at 7:49 PM  

Shhh..... Don't tell, but Comcast will usually hook you up...

I haven't paid full price since having cable. Whenever my promotion runs out, I call and I ask what they can do for me.... so far it's been working!

Erin August 6, 2010 at 9:35 PM  

I personally think it ridiculous that we have to "threaten" to go with a new company in order to get quality customer service from companies that we have been long-time customers with, however, a few minutes making some calls does seem to save money. My favorite is the Home Depot bill where we now have 12 months no interest on all purchases. I LOVE no interest situations!

Yvette August 7, 2010 at 12:18 AM  

We have a bundle (cable, internet, phone) through our cable company. Every year my husband re-negotiates our rates when they are due to increase. What they charge is highway robbery; it just blows my mind! But apparently they are willing to work with their customers and give them promotional pricing just to keep them.

Kim @ NewlyWoodwards August 7, 2010 at 12:23 AM  

I often have to negotiate with telemarketers. The worst - trying to get my Internet back on. It was off for days and finally I had to lose my sh*t to get it back on. Why do you you have to freak out or threaten to change service providers to get anything done? I just don't get that.

Lisa Rusczyk August 7, 2010 at 2:26 PM  

We will need to sign up for a plan soon :(.

Kate@TwentySixToLife August 7, 2010 at 5:13 PM  

We go through this every year when our "promo" rate expires. I actually think it's really annoying and hate having to do it. Our services are bundled too and we've gotten the line about it being more expensive to give up the phone line. I could actually give up cable too, but The Hubs would never go for that so we just keep everything. The internet is never a question though - we HAVE to have that!

Sara @ Russet Street Reno August 8, 2010 at 9:39 PM  

Cable is the worst. We pay over $140 with tax because we have premium channels, but no phone! So, we pay way too much.

Ashley August 9, 2010 at 7:30 AM  

I've tried to get discounts through Comcast in my area and it never works! They want to charge to $200 install (um, my unit is cable ready and has had Comcast before), plus a boatload for just cable/internet (I don't need phone because my cell is already pricey but I use it for everything). So, we decided to go with DISH for just cable. They installed everything for free and we can even record shows on 2 different "tvs". We're on a $24.99 promo per month but with HD and some other stuff it comes out to $42 after taxes. Not back for just cable!

-I have successfully haggled for a lower APR on a credit card before though. When they say "YES", thats a beautiful, glorious thing!

k + b August 9, 2010 at 10:30 AM  

It's insane how often this happens... Even though they're offering you a savings, in my opinion the company loses credibility with me because they're not offering me the lowest price in the first place. I just get tired of fighting with companies to save money. PHEW! Sorry, can you tell I needed to vent?
Anyway, I canceled my cable a couple years ago and never looked back. We signed up for Netflix ($9 a month) and spent a few bucks on cables to hook up my laptop to our television since they offer unlimited online movies and it's been amazing.It also helps keep me off the couch ;)

Alexis L., The Studioist August 9, 2010 at 12:13 PM  

I dropped my cable service and am saving $40/mo. plus I got a free iPod touch and free installation when I moved. It took several calls and a lot of pressure but it was totally worth it.

Erin @ Slipcover Your Life August 10, 2010 at 10:19 AM  

I've def. haggled, but right now in NYC we're STUCK with Time Warner (no other options to threaten with...)

Kim at Yellow Brick Home August 10, 2010 at 10:49 AM  

We are the Kings and Queens of haggling. Ok, maybe just the King because the hubs handles it. But once you say that you would like to cancel and switch to another company, magic happens!

Every 6 months when our promotion rate expires, we call up and get it to go back down again. We pay $80 for cable and internet, which in the Windy City, ain't bad at all!

Another trick: When we were downsizing assessment costs for our wedding, we found out that once we told people we were engaged, they were much more willing to go down on their monthly price. Happy wedding day indeed!

Livinia Redlips August 10, 2010 at 6:48 PM  

I have found that cable will always lower their prices for you if you ask...the bundles are good deals as long as the price does not go up - ugh!

Anonymous,  August 16, 2010 at 10:03 AM  

I used to think that sounded high until I moved to an area where the only options are satallite companies. We pay for phone, internet(which seems like it goes out every storm) and dish $175 a month and thats a bundle price that goes up next year. We had to keep our phone b/c the area we live in doesn't offer cell service. -Kaci

Anonymous,  September 25, 2010 at 5:06 PM  

yes, credit card companies earn money from what you spend on your cc independent of your interest.. So even if you pay it off at the end of the month, they make money from you having their card, so they will haggle. Luckily we never pay interest because we pay it off each month. But they still send us tons of applications.

Play Time Warner Cable January 10, 2011 at 3:20 AM  

Thanks for the information you gathered in your post. For me, bundles are good deals as long as the price does not go up.

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