Cut Monthly Bills In Half

This technique for getting companies to reduce your monthly bills is so classic and effective, it bears explicit reiteration.

• Identify a high-priced recurring service you subscribe to.
• Research the competition and find the best deal cheaper than yours.
• Call up your service and threaten to switch.
• Revel in the price matching

Call up full of vim and spunk. Doing battle with retention consultants is not for the milquetoast of heart!

Trey used this technique to make Comcast cut his cable bill by more than half, plus they threw in some free premium channels. His letter, inside.


    “Greetings, Consumerati:

    Yesterday, frustrated with the high cost ($140+ per month) of digital cable and data service, I decided to try little consumerist-esque hack. I found the best combo deal for video, voice, and data offered by the local telco and, armed with this information, brazenly called up Comcast to tell them I was going to switch to their dramatically cheaper competitor. Low, and behold! Within 3 minutes, the salivating retentioneer had cut my monthly rate to $75, secured the rate for 12 months, and even thrown in a second block of premium channels to seal the deal. Further proof that it’s a /great/ idea to play one company off the other.”

Of course, using this method assumes you live in an area where there is actual competition, damn you, Time Warner. — BEN POPKEN

Related: Reduce Credit Card APR: It Never Hurts To Ask

Comments

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  1. Omni Consumer Products says:

    When I was an Adelphia subscriber, this would be a ritual for me at least 4 times a year. I could dramatically reduce my bill by threatening to leave for DirecTV. Unfortunately, the “promotional rates” I was able to secure usually only lasted 3 months, and everytime I called back, the deals usually got less and less attractive.

  2. cuyahoga says:

    I do that with Comcast everytime my promotional rates expire. You don’t even have to threaten to leave for another company you just threaten to disconnect. Works like a charm everytime.

    Another Comcast trick is to downgrade your cable to basic (or whatever the cheapest one is). They claim a tech will come a put a filter on it so you will only get 2-30 or whatever but they never do. I’m not sure if this works if you have digital cable or any of the fancier packages.

  3. Law-Vol says:

    Actually, there is no real /cable/ competition in my area. But the telco is partnered with DirecTV.

    Worked anyway.

    We do have a new company called Knology that is /slowly/ rolling out voice/data/video bundles as it pushes a fiber-to-the-curb architecture.

    Hasn’t reached my house yet, sadly.

    Trey

  4. DougDascenzo says:

    Just called up Comcast and got $35 knocked off my monthly bill, while also getting Starz added (I now have HBO, Showtime, and Starz). Call up and let them know that DirecTV has a promo running that includes 206 channels (including local), as well as Showtime and Starz for $59.99/mo for 12 months. That gets their attention pretty fast.

  5. sharkilepsy says:

    I tried this with BellSouth, it wasn’t a competing deal, I threatened to disconnect if they didn’t reduce my rates to their current ones (they lowered the cost for of 3Mbit dsl for new subscribers.)
    and the rep said…OK, and disconnected my service.

  6. LTS! says:

    While more often than not you will get a “retention specialist” and get your rates dropped there are times when they will just ignore your comments and pretty much dare you to switch.

    Sharkilepsy speaks of an instance and I have seen the same happen to people I know as well as myself. I’ve never been disconnected but awhile back Dish Network refused to do anything. I did drop them and the only thing they ever did was harass me immediately about sending back their equipment.

    Time Warner drops rates regularly and you don’t even have to threaten. Just ask nicely if there is something they can do. I’ve kept my bill within a few dollars for a couple of years now with that tactic.

    Sometimes its not about being brash, it’s about being personable. You have to make the other person want to help you.

  7. William Mize says:

    My google-fu has failed me, but I’m pretty sure there are comparison shopping sites that will do the research for you, if you give them your zip code.
    Most that come up on google are kinda funky, aren’t complete and could even possibly be shills for the major carriers.
    Anyone been able to find a legit, accurate and complete phone/cable/ISP price comparison website?

  8. When I last moved I was calling around for data services and I had a choice between SBC and Comcast. I got quotes from each, then called Comcast and said “SBC quoted me this price — do you have a comparable plan?” The rep said, “SBC isn’t offering that price! They lied to you! Nobody’s offering that price!” And got really, really upset about the whole thing. I was, like, comforting her over the phone.

    Well, I’ve had that price for two years with SBC/AT&T. :P

  9. synergy says:

    Vim and spunk! I haven’t heard that in forever. And thank you for spelling milquetoast correctly (no it’s not milktoast)!

  10. bambino says:

    while we’re at correcting spelling, we might as well demand ‘lo’ instead of ‘low’.

  11. lpranal says:

    Of course, they have to actually care about keeping you first.

    My bank (M&I Bank, Wisconsin) wanted to charge me $42 dollars to “expedite” my ATM card – in 3-5 business days, instead of the usual 7-10. When I threatened to move all my money to my checking account at another bank, (my only option that didn’t require a significant amount of time, money, or both) the manager I spoke to simply said “I’m sorry you feel that way.” and didn’t offer to help at all. “I’m sorry you don’t think i’m worth $42 dollars.”

  12. AcidReign says:

    …..Yeah, Bellsouth (soon to be AT&T) is a monopoly in most areas, and they will pretty much laugh in your face if you complain about your bill, or the free activation rebate they refuse to honor. “I can’t do anything about that, sir.” — Bellsouth mission statement.

  13. Amy Alkon says:

    My favorite is how Time-Warner is bragging about offering free service calls. As opposed to what?

  14. Triteon says:

    “Free service calls” = “No Teller Fees”
    Just another basic service that a reasonable person would expect to receive at no cost.

  15. holocron says:

    Yeah, I just tried this with Comcast in my area. The trouble here is that we’re in a “transition phase” from Time Warner to Comcast. They were all nice and offered me $10 off for six months, but said because of the transition there were no promotions they could offer. I played the competing service card. The CSR claimed to go to the competitors website and couldn’t “find” the pricing I was looking at on my screen. It was fine up to that point when she made a reference to “just trying to make sure I was properly informed and not getting into something I didn’t fully understand.” Great for her looking out for me, but I cautioned her I didn’t appreciate the questioning of my research or intelligence. I indicated I was now have to seriously reconsider continuing their service and would prefer to call back and talk with someone else. Guess I’ll try to “get a different CSR” card now.