You don’t have to settle for cable, internet, and phone bill hikes. We’ve gathered tips to help you learn when and how to negotiate your cable bill to save money.
No one likes to wait on hold. But if you know how to negotiate your cable bill for a better rate, it could make the wait well worth your time. Get the tools you need below.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR CABLE BILL
Before you jump on the phone and play “Let’s Make A Deal” with your cable provider, do your homework. Research the market prices to understand the going rates by seeing what competitors advertise for other bundles and single services. Also find out about any current promotional offers.
Look over your bill to understand what you’re paying for cable, internet, and phone service. The assumption is that by bundling all of your services together you’re saving cash. But are you? Some customers report that they find hidden fees on their bill such charges for equipment that they’re not using. So make sure you understand all the charges on your bill.
Calculate what you would pay for single phone or internet service from the competitors and see if you’re actually saving money with your bundle. Once you’re armed with information, you are prepared to negotiate your cable bill.
HOW TO NEGOTIATE A CABLE BILL—THE TOOLS
First: be patient, pleasant, and persistent. You won’t get anywhere with customer service by being pushy and angry. They’re accustomed to angry callers. Surprise them with your pleasant attitude. Also know that being a long-time customer who pays on time will give you bargaining chips. But that’s not to say that if you were late on a couple of payments you don’t have any negotiating power.
The best time to call and negotiate a cable bill is when your promotional deal is nearing the expiration date, or you see an advertisement for a competitor with a better price.
Be aware that cable providers are hesitant of serial negotiators. But rarely is bargaining fruitless. The Consumer Reports National Research Center conducted a study in 2014 and found that 92% of people who haggled for a lower bill got money back or some other perk. Of those surveyed, 46% received a lower rate of up to $50 a month or less; 44% received an extended or promotional rate; 33% got more channels; and 16% received free or discounted equipment. Only 8% got nothing.
Plan to make several calls to your cable provider and expect to be on the phone for a while before you’re given a satisfactory deal. Cable providers will first try to appease you with free channels or other small perks before they offer cash savings. However, if the competitors are providing a better deal, see if your provider will match that rate.
There are companies that will do the haggling for you, if you’re not up for the challenge. Companies like BillFixers.com or Shrinkabill.com will negotiate lower bills for you, but it will cost you a fee.
TERMS & CONDITIONS
Suppose you follow these steps for how to negotiate a cable bill with your provider, and it works. What’s next? Be careful about deceptive bargains. You may pay less for a bundle, but will you be getting a slower internet service, less channels, or are you now locked into a contract for a set term? Signing onto a locked contract will limit your bargaining abilities in the future.
And don’t take their word that the deal is guaranteed. Call back and confirm that the new rate is reflected on your account.
If you aren’t able to negotiate your cable bill, don’t be discouraged. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of speaking to the right person. Call back and try again. Be prepared to switch to another company, or even consider cutting the cord on one of these services.