Reader Plays Quitsies To Get Time Warner Bill Lowered

Ron got his Time Warner Cable bill reduced by threatening to cancel service.

Follow along with each thrust and parry and learn his Jedi ways, inside…


Ron writes:

Consumerist:
I’m an avid reader and I have to tell you about the deal I just got with Time Warner Cable. I’d been a happy Comcast subscriber for years, but Time Warner recently bought them out for cable service in my northern Ohio community. The quality and customer service has decreased while the rates have jumped significantly higher. I decided to see if I could get a “Consumerist deal” out of them.

First, I called my local landline phone company. They’ve been desperate to get people signed up for their 3-way partnership deals with landline, DSL internet, and satellite TV through Dish Network. Their monthly price (comparing apples to apples) is about $110, whereas my current costs for landline ($23), digital cable ($83) and cable internet ($46) is $129. I told my local landline company that I would be considering a switch. They asked if they could call me in 24 hours to discuss it further. (Okay, I’m thinking…maybe they’ll lower their price if I hesitate.)

Meanwhile, I called Time Warner Cable to “inquire about how to disconnect my digital cable TV service”. The CSR asked why. I stated that the costs were too high, and that I want to go with a more basic cable package. After looking up my account info, the CSR stated that by dropping the digital service but maintaining “enhanced basic” cable, the cost difference would be negligible. When I asked how much difference, she stated, “Oh, you know, a couple of dollars” without offering specifics. I told her my goal was to reduce my costs. She said, “Hold on a minute, let me see what I can do.” After a short time on hold, she returned with an offer to add Cinemax to my account “for only an additional $1.50 per month”. I reminded her that my goal was to reduce costs and that I wasn’t going to add anything. She said, “You don’t want this, right?” “Right.” “Hold on a moment, please.” She came back on the line quickly to say that they would reduce my current monthly bill by $30 per month. “Will that help?” she asked. “It sure will,” I replied. “I was thinking of switching to satellite TV. This will keep me as a happy customer.” I thanked her politely. Ok, so I overstated that “happy customer” bit… but dang, just for inquiring in the Consumerist way, I got $30 off my monthly bill (that’s $360 smackeroos a year!), with no change in service.

I’ll still be chatting with my landline company to see if they offer an even sweeter deal, but I’m really pleased with results so far. Thanks, Consumerist, for the ways you help educate us consumers.

— BEN POPKEN

Comments

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  1. scblackman says:

    I just pulled this off with Comcast. I have their triple package (internet, phone and cable TV), and it’s been running about $160/month (in Boston). If it were up to me I’d get rid of the cable TV altogether, but my wife insists.

    I called up Comcast a few days ago and told them that I was going to switch to either Verizon FIOS or RCN cable and they told me about a “promotion” where I’d get Starz network added (6 movie channels) and it would cut my bill by $30/month!

    In a year, I’ll give them a call back …

  2. Kos says:

    I’m jealous. I tried to get TWC to reduce my bill in NYC and I got a lousy $2 off. I suck.

  3. picantel says:

    I’ve done this with TWC several times. The first time I mentioned that my neighbor had a better deal and I wanted the same deal.

    The second time, I threatened to cancel cable and move to satellite. That really got them working.

    Third time, threatened to just get basic cable instead of the expanded digital tier that they had.

    Fourth time, told them we were cancelling the bundled cable+internet we had.

    Each time, we were able to keep our bundled cable cost under $100/month.

  4. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Around my area, the price difference between basic digital and basic enhanced analog is around $5. Actually, it’s a few dollars more if you factor in the cable box rental, which is required for digital service.

  5. crayonshinobi says:

    Again, I have to ask. Is the discount $30/month less forever, or just for 6 months?

    I’m dubious that Time Warner would just agree to lower your bill by $30 indefinitely.

  6. MotherFury says:

    That guy needs to check the fine print on the discount they are offering him. Years ago, TWC grandfathered us in at a discounted rate for premium channels – but we found out a few months ago that if we want to make any kind of changes to our account – add digital phone, RR high speed, or change anything about our packages – we lose the special rate and have to completely redo our packages to include the channels we want.

  7. coraspartan says:

    I just got off the phone with Comcast. I got the same deal scblackman got. I had the “triple play” package where I have my phone, internet, and cable (including DVR) through them for $155 a month. I just called and told them I wanted to cancel my phone service to lower my bill. The CSR asked what I would do for phone service if I cancelled; I replied that I was planning to use my cell phone and he replied that he would help me cancel. After several minutes of silence (while he was ostensibly cancelling my service and I was thinking of telling him to forget it, that I really wanted to keep my phone), miraculously he came up with this bundled package that would allow me to keep my phone service, add 6 premium channels and still cut $35 a month off my bill! Score! Thanks Consumerist!

  8. coraspartan says:

    BTW, crayonshinobi, the deal I received was for 1 year. Usually I can only get a 6 month deal too. But the CSR said this one was good for a year. I will be calling back again in a year to get another discount for sure!

  9. scblackman says:

    My deal was for 1 year as well … nice job, coraspartan!

  10. sdb1969 says:

    I was grandfathered in too. My bill for cable and internet (roadrunner) is $100.00 a month. Is this good? I am reading these postings with my mouth wide open I didn’t know you could negotiate. I called in to get a reduced package when I quit working and they told me the basic package was more than I was paying now (41.00) a month. 39 for roadrunner. I was paying 39 also for internet but it went up and nobody could tell me why. I get 200 channels. I think I’ll try the method of wanting to get a better deal elsewhere and see what they can do for me. Thanks to everyone.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I called to complain about getting offers in the mail every week asking me to upgrade from just internet to add cable and phone – this had been happening for about a year and I was sick of it.

    They reduced my internet from $49.95 to $29.95 and it’s been three months and the price is still the same!!

    (Maybe I was paying too much for internet in the first place?)