Friday, September 18, 2009

How To Reduce Your Cable/Wireless Bills

The following true story is from a friend on the west coast who employed one of my tricks that helped him score a two-fer: lower cost and improved service from his provider--just with one short phone call. His story is as follows:

"I never really look at my bills very much, but today I noticed I was paying a bit for internet. So I called up my [major national cable/phone/internet provider] and threatened to quit by telling them I had a better deal with one of their competitors. My current provider offered to lower my bill by 1/3rd ($13) each month for six months, but I told them that it was not worth it. They countered, "How about for 1 year?" and I said, "Well a friend can get me a better deal than that." I mentioned the competitor's name, and almost on cue, "We will double your speed," was the counter offer. Not wanting to sign a new contract, I asked them,"With no new contract?" My service responded, "Nope just a price guarantee from us."

"So I took it. I just rebooted my computer and cable modem and the internet flies now on my machine. All because of a simple phone call."

To recap: my friend is now paying $13/less a month and his internet speed has been doubled.  Over one year alone, that equates to $156 + whatever the cost saved if he had paid for double his current internet speed.

Anybody can do the same, although your results may vary (better or worse financially) depending on who it is.  This strategy can work with cell phone providers, credit card companies, cable companies, and more.  It takes a bit of homework, a few minutes of time, patience, and a nice quiet place to make that call.  It's important to have documentiation handy for 1) the competiting offer and 2) your current provider's (email, etc.) indicating that they will lower your price/improve your service at no additional charge. It may take a billing cycle to straighten it out and you want to be armed with proof in case there is a problem in the future. Think about it, customer service reps. have many people calling them during an eight hour work day.  If your account is not immediately updated with the new informaiton, they may forget to do it simply because of the volume of other's concerns they must address. Then, the burden is on you to correct the matter later when your bill hasn't changed. Try to get a name, employee ID, reference number, etc. to cover your tracks.

Smile and dial!