Consumer 101: 3 Ways To Lower Your Out Of Control Cable, Internet And Phone Bills

How much to spend on cable, internet and telephone is something nobody had to worry about only a few generations ago. Today, the Pew Research Center says that after housing, cable and satellite TV service was most frequently cited as a regular household expense (78%), followed by cell phones (74%) and internet service (65%). By contrast, just four-in-ten adults (42%) say they make a car payment. If you’re looking for a way to cut the amount of money you spend on these “information age” expenses, we’ve got three of them to choose from.

  1. Ask for a lower price. This is the most painless way to lower your bills. Simply call up your cable company, for example, and ask them to lower your bill. Before you call, do a little research. Find out what the competition is charging and what your provider is offering new customers so you know what you can expect to get. Tell them that you’re thinking of switching to another provider and explain that you can save money if you do.

    Here’s a success story: Threatening To Cancel Comcast Saves Man $238.92 Per Year

  2. Eliminate what you don’t use and can live without. Bundling your services with cable or telephone companies might save you money– but it might not. Take some time to do research and find out which combination works for you. Maybe it’s “dry loop” or “naked” DSL and a bigger cellphone package. Maybe it’s cable internet and phone with no cable. Maybe its Netflix instead of cable. An HD antenna and GameFly? Splitting the cost of internet by sharing WiFi with your neighbor? Switching to a pay as you go phone? Getting a family cellphone plan? Be creative.

    Here’s a success story: iTunes + Netflix = Cancel Cable?

  3. Shop around. When your cellphone contract has expired you are in a position of enormous power. You are in demand. Do not waste this opportunity by renewing your contract for a free phone. Shop around. You’re likely to get the best deal from a new company. Even if you’re happy with your current provider, there’s no reason not to negotiate. Also, make sure that you’re taking advantage of all the discounts that are available to you. You might be eligible for a discount simply because of the company you work for.

    Here’s a success story: How Joe Saved Hundreds Of Dollars Using Confessions Of A Cellphone Sales Rep

Good luck! Share how you saved on your “information age” bills in the comments and we’ll round up the best ideas in another post.

(Photo: darabidduckie )

Comments

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  1. CupcakeKarate says:

    Great article- much more informative than the usual “Cancel cable!” advice. Thanks!

  2. kwsventures says:

    Cancel all 3. Life will move forward.

    • CupcakeKarate says:

      @kwsventures: That’s the truth, isn’t it? Just buy a starbucks gold card for $25 and you get 2 hours of free wifi anyway, plus you get 10% off on drinks! IMAGINE THE SAVINGS.

    • MyPetFly says:

      @kwsventures:

      In my case, if I cancel my cable service, I’ll lose my Internet acce

    • youbastid says:

      @kwsventures: There are a number of people who rely on internet service for things other than porn, games and facebook.

      Wait, let me rephrase that: there are a number of people who rely on internet service for things in addition to porn, games, and facebook. It’s not so simple to just cancel it when you need it for research. And I don’t understand the logic of cancelling your phone service entirely. People need some method of communication. Do you suggest we go back to the pony express?

      • uncle moe says:

        @youbastid: cell plans can be had very cheaply if you don’t need a data plan and as for research, without cable, you have more time to spend at your local library

    • HRHKingFridayXX says:

      @kwsventures: That’s easy to say if you live alone (and if I lived alone I really won’t be able to afford all three). But then again if you split an internet bill 5 ways and still can’t pay it, you have bigger problems.

    • innout3x3 says:

      @kwsventures: I agree with cancel all 3. I live without a house phone perfectly. I have a moron neighbor who I borrow internet from. Finally, I am so sick of TV sucking up my life that I only buy what I want from DVD, BD, and itunes if needed.

    • GrandizerGo says:

      @kwsventures: Another person advocating a puritan lifestyle…

      If I was to do that, who would raise my kids!!!!
      Hahahahahahaahahahahahahaha…..

    • BluePlastic says:

      I work at home full time and must be connected to my employer via the Internet all day. So, there goes canceling the Internet. It’s a fun toy, but it’s not JUST a toy.

  3. jscott73 says:

    I keep trying to find better pricing then I have but it’s been hard, apparently I have it good right now.

    Cell phone for my wife and I with 1000 shared minutes through T-Mobile: $60/month

    Cable, internet and phone bundle with Cox: $60/month

    I did get Cox to lower my bill by $15/month for 6 months by calling to cancel.

    If anyone knows how to get these prices lower let me know, and pay as you go cell phone service wouldn’t really work since we use most of our minutes each month since we live far away from most of our family and use the cell phone for long distance calls since we don’t have long distance on our home phone.

    • youbastid says:

      @jscott73: In 5 and a half months, call them and ask them to extend the lowered price for another 6 months or you’ll cancel :)

    • TheName says:

      @jscott73: Wow … Cox is a deal! We pay $50+fees/month for cable internet alone!

    • CyrusOpeth says:

      @jscott73: Don’t use your cell phones for long distance. Instead, compare pay as you go cell phones (PagePlus is a great solution) plus something like SkypeOut, or maybe another VoIP solution for long distance. For example, $199 gets you all you can eat for two years from virtually any VoIP provider. There are also pay as you go VoIP providers. I bet you can get your cell phone down to a few bucks a month plus your long distance down to a few bucks a month. $60/month vs. maybe $20/month, tops. Personally, I think it’s ridiculous to use cell phone for everything.

    • howie_in_az says:

      @jscott73: Get a GrandCentral.com number and use the MyFaves plan. Give out your GC number to everyone and make sure it’s on the MyFaves list. Presto, all incoming calls don’t count towards your minutes.

      Drop your landline, if you have (and need) one, and get TMobile’s @Home service, which is VoIP with a nifty router. We need a landline due to our gates and Qwest wanted, at minimum, $13/mo. TMobile is $10/mo, and includes free voicemail, call waiting, caller ID, and I think three-way calling. A comparable line from Qwest would’ve run into the $35/mo range.

      I don’t work for Tmobile, but they should send me money.

    • lauy says:

      @jscott73:

      Can I ask where you live that you have a Cox bundle for $50???? It’s at least $100 in the Phoenix area with digital, basic phone and the lowest speed internet I believe…I’d like to get in on whatever deal you have!! Even at the $65 you were paying it’s still better than what I have found…

  4. legwork says:

    To the curb with them all!

    (in eensy small type) Well, at least the cable.

  5. HogwartsAlum says:

    I would like to save some money on these. The only one I have done so far is switch from cable to satellite, and it is a little cheaper. My internet is AT&T and it’s $30 a month, but I’m scared to switch to anything else, because so far it’s been very reliable. I depend on it heavily for research and stuff. Using it elsewhere is not practical.

  6. DeleteThisAccount says:

    Canceling cable has been very liberating…

  7. hellinmyeyes says:

    What the hell… No one has an ELECTRICITY bill? Maybe these are the most frequently thought-about bills because they involve lots of customer service issues, but pure consumption drives a lot of other expenses as well…

    • jscott73 says:

      @hellinmyeyes: I don’t, my rent includes water, trash, gas, electricity and gardener.

    • CyGuy says:

      @hellinmyeyes: Renters often don’t have to pay electric as it’s included in their rent (likewise heat).

      But yeah, I expect just about every homeowner and a significant number of renters do pay an electric bill.

      • h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

        @CyGuy: What kind of people have you been renting from? None of the apartments I have ever had have included electric/heat in the monthly charge. The only bill I’ve ever known anyone to be given a pass on is water, and that’s becoming less frequent.

    • U-235 says:

      @hellinmyeyes: You are certainly correct – and there are several ways of curbing your energy consumption. Most power providers provide great information on how to reduce electricity costs, and some offer incentives. Case in point from TVA: [www.energyright.com]

    • howie_in_az says:

      @hellinmyeyes: My electric company, SRP, offers a ‘managed payment plan’. They’ll average your usage from the previous year and bill you the same amount every month. Great for budgeting — summers in the Phoenix area can get up to 110-120F during the day, resulting in a $350/mo electric bill for a few months out of the year. Otherwise the non-managed bills are ~$50/mo.

      • Feminist Whore says:

        @howie_in_az: Friggin SRP, how is it that in this age of the internet they do not offer the option of online payment with CC? Unfathomable!

        My bills non-summer 60 bucks, in summer 250 bucks in a 600 sq ft apartment, in Mesa.

  8. Decaye says:

    Good article. We decided the free option was best, so we don’t have TV/Phone, and just borrow internet from a generous neighbour. (Borrow wasn’t in quotes on purpose :p He was party to our shenanigans – helped us run the cat5 after we drilled through the cinderblock.)

  9. lalaland13 says:

    I’ve been thinking of reducing my cable package. When I moved I got the expanded digital package because I could, and because of the stupid NFL network, but I just don’t really need the stupid NFL Network. Even though my Cowboys have a game or two on there this season, lately they’ve been sucking anyway, and that’d be a way to save some money on the cable bill. Other than that and a few sports channels I flip around occasionally, I don’t use any of the “expanded digital” channels.

  10. EBounding says:

    I’ve posted this a lot, but I canceled cable and just use the digital broadcast stations. That saved $40 and the picture is better than cable. When I did managed to watch TV, it was usually something on the broadcast stations anyway. I got Netflix instead. But I’m starting to realize that I don’t watch as many movies as I thought.

    I still have an internet and phone bundle though from Comcast. It’s $65 which isn’t too bad.

    • kc2idf says:

      @EBounding: Netflix has TV shows on DVD, also. True, you don’t get to see them in-season, but you will get to see those shows that are only on cable.

  11. qrius says:

    I always found it interesting, and a bit odd that people would pay so much money to sit down and watch others’ fake lives.

    Why not go out and live real life?

    • jscott73 says:

      @qrius: I watch football and family guy, neither of which I could experience in real life without getting the crap knocked out of me or going mentally insane.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @qrius: I can’t figure out if this is even a serious comment.

    • misslisa says:

      @qrius: I was thinking the same thing…The only television I’ve purposely watched in the past year was the Kentucky Derby, a Suns game, one presidential debate, and election night coverage. I would rather have attended those events in real life instead of watching them on TV. Now that I think about it, cable might be a lot cheaper than real life!

  12. MattO says:

    …with Cox we are paying somewhere in the neighborhood of $160/month – we have unlimited long distance, caller ID, 3 way, on the phone….we have the tier 2 internet, and we have digital cable, with HD service, DVR…no extra stations or anything really…but we couldnt find a way to lower anything. we tried to lower the internet, but that lowers it by $15/month, but then we lose the $10 credit for bundling…so we said screw it….we both like having a home phone, and have fallen in love with caller ID…so unfortunately, there isnt much we can do unless we want to truely cut things. we also have netflix….but that definitely gets its use – got a bluray player, and i love movies – i watch PLENTY every month.

  13. lowercase says:

    The link to the older article about Netflix + Itunes = Cancel Cable is a good one, and now Hulu has made it that much better. The only thing I miss on cable is some of what ESPN offers, but everything else I want comes over the air or can be seen on Hulu or the networks’ own websites.

  14. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    So, what’s wrong with paying off your car and driving it around while you still own it? 42% paying car payments actually sounds high to me.

  15. bpclay says:

    Very good article…I think another thing that should be thrown into this is to take a look at your cell phone, cable, internet, and home phone bills and see what items you are being billed for.

    I for one went through my home phone bill and was able to save $40+ per month on misc fees/services i wasn’t using. If you look @ cable and satellite bills they may be billing your for HD services when you aren’t using them (just because you have a box that is HD enabled, doesnt’ mean you are using HD, or even need an HD box at all).

  16. eightfifteen says:

    OK – here’s some questions:

    1) I get my internet and cable through Mediacom. They have told me that if I’m going to have cable internet, I must have at least a basic package of cable television. So cable internet may only (note the sarcasm) around $45, but the basic cable costs an additional $40-ish, bringing the cost of internet to $85. Am I getting scammed being forced to have cable television?

    • Hamtronix says:

      @eightfifteen: Perhaps, comcast did not force you to have cable to get internet through cable.

    • QuantumRiff says:

      @eightfifteen: When cable internet first came out, they had to turn on cable service to your house to sell you internet. Many companies didn’t require you to purchase cable, and a few people quickly realized that they could then plug their TV into the wall and get free cable! After this got a bit too common, most cable companies now install a “filter” on the pole outside your house if you are internet only, that only lets the frequency range through for internet, and not for the TV channels. It is possible that your cable company doesn’t want to spend the $0.35 these cost..

    • blackmage439 says:

      @eightfifteen: A quick glance at Mediacom’s website reveals the Online Intro package, offering a still decent 3Mbps, is only $19.95/month for a one year contract, with no bundled cable service required…

      [www.mediacomcc.com]

      • howie_in_az says:

        @blackmage439: Mediacom CSRs are rarely aware of what the website states. Also, their internet-only package is ~$70/mo; all other packages require basic cable.

        @eightfifteen: Call Mediacom and sign up for the basic cable service and 8mb/s internet ($19.95/mo, [www.mediacomcc.com]). I think the ‘package’ gives you 1 digital box, three outlets total, and Starz/Encore. Your bill will come out to be roughly $73/mo, not $85/mo. If you go through trouble with installation (I had nothing but problems with their installers and CSRs), complain. Complain a lot. Keep on them and they’ll lower your bill and give you all manner of discounts.

    • BeeBoo says:

      @eightfifteen: At one point I had cable television from one company and cable internet from another. When the guy came to install the internet he didn’t want to do it because he said their policy was only one provider and he was not allowed to do it ever, period, but I told him I had been very clear when I arranged for the internet that I had cable TV through another company and he called his supervisor and then did it, but he wasn’t happy about it.

      The point is they can do whatever they want to do. You can insist on taking only the services you want and the prices are negotiable. If you don’t get what you want, and what you want is reasonable, call back and talk to another rep until you get it.

  17. battra92 says:

    I saved over $100 a year by simply calling up my cable company and saying, “I think HBO is too expensive so I was wondering if you had any packages that would make it worth keeping.”

    She said no, I said “cancel HBO then.”

    Sure people in the house were pissed but when I’m paying $100 a year for a channel I don’t watch cutting that out is almost like getting one month of cable for free (to spin it in a more positive light.)

    • bluewyvern says:

      @battra92: At first I thought this was going to be a story about how you threatened to cancel HBO and thereby got a better deal — but no, you just canceled HBO.

      And “people in the house were pissed”? So others were enjoying the service, but since you didn’t, you got to enjoy the money saved by not paying for it.

      Ok. Doesn’t sound like a great money saving tip to me (cancel things people who aren’t you are using!), but thank you for sharing…

  18. frankspin says:

    My only choices are Comcast or Direct TV. Which gives me very little options.

  19. blackmage439 says:

    Sadly, I really have no options to lower anything.

    My cell phone isn’t an issue, due to being one of three members on my parent’s plan. At less than $30 per month, and being my only phone, this is acceptable.

    My cable and internet are bundled through WOW!, at 60$ a month for basic cable, with that price guaranteed through 2010, and with a fair share of channels not offered on Comcast basic cable (I needs me my SciFi channel!!!). However, I see no way to reduce this. I live in an apartment with no balcony or roof access; satellite is out of the question. Comcast may be cheaper… for six months. Then I get hit with the “standard rape”… err “rate”.

    I WANT to move to internet TV, but the offerings between websites and TV stations are still sporadic at best; I would be missing things, including most of all, most of the offerings on SciFi. News shows like Countdown are even worse, splitting the show into segments that must be separately watched. Not to mention there is a certain convenience I enjoy by just turning on the TV and seeing my favorite shows at their allotted time, or just by chance. I’m notorious for watching a movie when it comes on TV, but never watching it if it’s already in my collection. I also refuse to Torrent anything illegally, and pay-per-download doesn’t really appeal to me. I already have Netflix, but their internet library is still horribly sporadic, with many shows missing entire seasons. Finally, in order to properly transition to internet TV, I would need to purchase a dedicated media device, either an Xbox 360 or another computer, and an LCD TV; only justifiable by canceling cable completely.

    Blargh… Does anyone have some advice for someone in my situation?

    • BeeBoo says:

      @blackmage439: Sounds like you have a pretty good deal as far as rates go. If you get value from cable TV and Netflix over what you can get for free over the internet the internet, you should be pretty happy. I canceled my cable and haven’t missed it but I am willing to download stuff by torrent.

  20. johnarlington says:

    Cancel the cable and use HULU

    • blackmage439 says:

      @johnarlington: Hulu hardly has a complete library, and some stations (like SciFi) either don’t release their shows in digital format (Stargate), or force Hulu to take down the files after a certain date (Sanctuary).

      • Rectilinear Propagation says:

        …or force Hulu to take down the files after a certain date (Sanctuary).

        @blackmage439: Yeah, but it’s not like you’d be able to watch any episode of the season anytime you want using TV. Unless you’ve gotten used to having a DVR (or were a very organized VCR owner) this doesn’t change things much.

  21. QuantumRiff says:

    The problem is, companies make it soo difficult to comparison shop. I can see that Charter cable has specials in my area for cable and internet, for $45 a month* Its finding the data behind that little asterisk that is difficult, and then it says that after x months, it more than doubles. On top of that, All cell, cable, and phone companies have $xx price + fees and taxes, but they really, really don’t like to tell you what the taxes and fees are going to be upfront.

  22. GuinevereRucker says:

    My wife and I got rid of our TV over a year ago. We have absolutely no regrets. Our living room is quieter and has more room for other stuff. Our lives are free from commercials every five minutes.

    We pay $8 for netflix and watch movies on my large computer screen.

    On the rare occasion we do want to watch a TV show (most of them suck), we get the whole series free at the library. They have almost everything and can request the box set from other libraries if they don’t have it.

    This system does require being a year or so behind the current episodes, but we don’t care. And we’re finding that there’s so rarely a good TV show worth watching that we are sticking to movies more and more.

    I have yet to lower my internet bill though!

    • BeeBoo says:

      @GuinevereRucker: I lowered my cable internet from $42 to $30 fo 6 months simply by calling and telling them the telephone company is installing FIOS and asking for a lower rate.

      I will try it again in 6 months.

    • The Cynical Librarian says:

      @GuinevereRucker: +1 for using your library!
      Most metro areas have great libraries that will have most TV shows on DVD as they come out.
      Confession time is at hand though: I work for a library, so any publicity gets more people in the door and makes me look that much better to the board.
      Seriously; I don’t mind too much waiting for a few months to see what happens in season 2 of Mad Men. No one tell me though, seriously*

      *tempting fate.

  23. Murph1908 says:

    This advice is more remedial than a 101 class.

    1. Ask for a discount!
    2. Decide if you don’t need it!
    3. Shop around!

  24. pb5000 says:

    I cut my cell to pay as you go a while ago, I just wasn’t using enough of it and I have unlimited long distance with my home phone so I make my calls there. I buy 1000 minutes for $100 from T-Mobile and they usually last 6-9 months, it’s all I need and works for me.

  25. Joel Risberg says:

    I recently wrote up my experiences on this very subject. The gist of it is you can absolutely do without cable. We do it with the help of a regular antenna, TiVo, Netflix/Roku, and BitTorrent, but there are many ways to avoid the cable/satellite game:

    [www.cheaplinks.net]

    Joel

  26. Anonymous says:

    I’m with Cox Digital for internet and phone. I was able to get an uprgrade to the premium speed internet for the price of basic broadband if I signed a one year agreement to stay with them. It was a win-win. I got better service and they know I won’t be ditching them for at least 12 months.

    Didn’t really save me money, but I get more for the money I was already spending, which is almost as good.

  27. Azagthoth says:

    Um, isn’t sharing WIFI with a neighbor illegal? If not, it is surely against your user agreements.

  28. trk182 says:

    If I threatened to cancel my cable with Comsuckasst I’m pretty sure the guy from Kerplackistan on the other end of the phone would reply with “Ok, is there anything else I can help you with today?”.

  29. Squeezer99 says:

    has anyone had any success asking AT&T DSL for a discount? what about dish network (i’m still in contract w/ them)

  30. NotYou007 says:

    My basic cable is paid for by my landlord but I do have to pay for my cable modem and I need a high speed connection for my job. Now way around that one and that is 45 bucks a month, I can afford it.

    I also have Vonage because I make a lot of phone calls to clients and I enjoy a nice clear connection and the other features it offers, such as call forwarding which I use so all calls are forwarded to my cell phone.

    I have a personal cell phone, again it was required that I have one for my job and the company does not give you one till after 8 months so I have two cell phones but my personal one is the basic plan, no texting, nothing special.

    I do have digital cable so I can enjoy HDTV but that cost me a whopping 10 bucks because my basic cable is paid for. Can’t watch History or Nat. Geographic in HD via an antenna and I watch those to channels a lot and my last toy is my DVR which is another 9 dollars a month. I sometimes work late so it’s nice to be able to record shows I otherwise would miss.

    What helps me manage a lot of it though is Vonage is paid at the first of the month, Verizon in the middle and RoadRunner at the end of the month. The 9th, the 16th and the 23rd so I always have a paycheck to cover a small bill.

  31. Anonymous says:

    As an employee of a cable company, if you really want to lower costs and keep your services ask about the lowest tier services your provider offers, a 15$/mo internet package may only be several times faster than dial-up, but it works fine for general web browsing and email.

    Always go with the basic cable package. They really sock it to you with the add-on packages and 9 time out of 10 they channels suck anyway.

    If you want to get rid of your phone, bump up your internet package and look at getting a VOIP service (beware of Vonage).

    Trust me you can save a metric cr#pton of money by using VOIP.

  32. Ben_Q2 says:

    Dump the Ex and her kid (My kid lives with me) saved me over 50,000 a year.

  33. Desk_hack says:

    A lot of people on here have complained about Time Warner, and believe me, I’ve had my service issues with them, but I’ve had great luck with regard to lowering my bill when I’ve simply asked. In the most recent case, I called several months ago to discuss my usage and to see what deals were out there. I explained to them that money was tight, and that I wanted to cancel HBO, which I wasn’t using anyway. Once CS did that, they took a hard look at my account and created a personal bundle for me and knocked off the monthly fee for my DVR, all in all saving me $23 a month. And that was just within a 10 minute phone call. They’ve been generous with deals before.

    The important thing to remember is that these companies are aware of what’s happening with the economy, and they expect to receive many calls like mine. They want to keep you as a customer, and it’s a heck of a lot cheaper to make deals and keep you happy than to lose you and replace you with new business.

    With that in mind, my Verizon contract is up and I’m unhappy with a new policy for their “New Every 2″ plan. I expect to read the “Joe” story linked above and see what I can finagle.

  34. absentmindedjwc says:

    @BluePlastic:

    I am a web developer.. it would be kind of bad for me to not have an internet connection. With the size of files I work with (videos, images, etc), it would be incredibly counterproductive to have anything short of a rather quick internet connection.

    Not touching television. There are a few shows that I watch that are not played online. I get the lowest cable package, so it isnt that bad.

    I did however get rid of phone. (my cell is good enough for me)

  35. intr0vert says:

    I have only Cable Modem and no Cable TV. It’s easier to deal with than you think.

    I offset the cost of the internet (about $44 a month) by sharing it with my 3 closest neighbors in the same apartment complex. Nobody has ever complained of slow service.

    And all of those cable shows you might be missing? Watchtvsitcoms.com links most of them. watch-movies.net has quite a few movies and anything else i need is “out there” somewhere and takes no more than a day to “get”, sometimes just an hour or so.

  36. PlayneJane says:

    Here’s a success story for you that was inspired by this article.

    My husband’s been nagging about Direct TV because he wants to watch football in HD. That’s okay but I didn’t want to have to cancel my bundled Cable-Internet-Phone plan because I do feel that I get a good value and, for the most part, I am not unhappy with their service. More – after checking on the actual details of the “Plan” from Direct TV that got him interested, I found out that we’d actually be paying more for the Direct TV HD than we would if we signed up for HD service with our current cable company.

    So yesterday I went to our cable company’s website to get info on available HD packages and was greeted by an introductory offer, aimed at new subscribers, which offers them a complete bundled package for $28.00/month less than I am paying. Woah [!!!].

    I started thinking about this article and called their sales line. Fortunately I got a very nice rep with a very conversational manner and I launched into the story about my husband wanting HD and thinking about getting a VOIP line in order to save money over our current bill.

    Then I told him about all of the bad comments I got from friends about Direct TV’s service in this area and how Vonage is actually worse.

    “Now I don’t want Direct TV but my husband does want the HD”, I say, “So I went on to your company’s website to check on the upgrade price and ‘how shocked and offended’ do you think I was when I read that you’re offering new clients a substantially lower rate than what I am paying?…”

    He agreed that it was not very nice but also started to tell me that they run these sort of specials from time to time in order to gain new subscribers.

    “And that’s fine,” I said, “but how much do you think a customer with a good, 12 year+ track record with your company is worth? In my mind, that good-paying customer should be worth more than an unknown customer and I would think you want to kindof ‘make that customer happy’ if possible and within reason.”

    “So what do you want me to do?” he asked.

    And I said, “I want you to lower my basic bill to the $94.80 that you are offering new subscribers. And then I want you to add the $10.00 fee for the higher rate internet service. I’d also like you to add on the $11.92 for the premium HD service and I don’t want to pay any more than what I am paying now.”

    After some discussion about a tech having to come to the house to install the HD converter box and my need for an HDMI cable and how much all this was going to cost I ended up with a contracted annual rate that is $12.00/month less than I am paying now. There will be no extra service charges for the HD installation but I will have to pay $30.00 for the HDMI cable.

    Cha-ching! I will upgrade my service to include premium HD service and save a total $114.00 for the year.

    Thanks Consumerist!

  37. mrregan says:

    My wife and I each have a cell phone for which we paid about $60 per month, but we really dont use them more than about 1 or 2 hours each per month. I just bought 2 prepaid phones from T-mobile. T-mobile has an option to buy $100 (1000 anywhere, anytime) minutes which will not expire for one year. So I hop on Microsoft Live Search, go to Ebay and buy (2) $100 refill cards using the Microsoft/PayPal 25% cash back. The end result is I now have 2 phones with a 1000 minutes (actually 1150 minutes because T-mobile gives you 15% more as a bonus with the $100 level) for a total of $150 replacing my annual cost of $720 with my previous cell phone provider. If I need more minutes during the year I can add them in any increment I want. I think this is ideal for a low usage cell phone consumer.

  38. guspaz says:

    If you live in Ontario or Quebec, you can save a bundle by switching to the small independent ISP TekSavvy :)

    Their DSL prices are way less than Bell, their telephone prices are slightly lower but comparable, and their long distance services cost a fraction as much.

  39. Anonymous says:

    so comparison shopping is all well and good, but what do you do when just calling the current company doesn’t do any good to get your cost lowered and you don’t have any other companies that service your address? For instance, I live in Brooklyn, but Optimum is the only provider in the area (Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner are the other options) who will service my address so I don’t have a foothold to say that I could get a better deal through someone else.