Ten Ways To Take $100 Off Your Cable Bill

Adam from Free Press sent us his tips for lowering his cable bill. Using these strategies, Adam reduced his monthly bill from $190 to $90, and added three movie networks, a sports package, and two additional boxes.

1. Go to the Source. When going through the prompts, never call anywhere but the discontinue/reduce services department. Typically this will take you to the customer care department, the people who have the ability to actual do something besides offer you a triple play bundle you probably don’t want. Until changes are made to the current system of retention marketing, this path is your best bet.

2. Make Your Case. After giving them your account number, frame the discussion by mentioning how long you’ve been with them and the amount you’ve been paying. I mention all the interest I’m receiving from competitors and that I’m sick of seeing my rates go up. Remember you’re calling to provide them with an opportunity to continue getting money from you each month.

3. Focus on Price. Don’t call and say you want free HBO. Instead call to ask what can be done to lower your bill. The first thing they will probably do is throw in free HBO. Remind them that you had called to lower your bill, but that you appreciate the concession. If you used to pay significantly less bring it up and mention a particular figure.

4. Get Specific. Make sure to have your bill in front of you and mention specific services. The rep is taught to mention any deal you’re already receiving. Your job is to mention all the services you’re paying full price for. Don’t be afraid to go line by line. You’ll be amazed that all of sudden a deal that simply didn’t exist two minutes ago has magically appeared.

5. Express Your Displeasure. It probably doesn’t help to kick and scream, but be stern. Ultimately, it is up to the rep whether you receive discounts so be upset with the service, not them. I’ve also found they are in better moods in the morning, so call early.

6. You Are Human. Don’t be afraid to remind them of this. Try to get the rep to relate to your problem. Discussing some personal experience that provides another perspective on the frame you’ve built will help. Mention that your roommates or spouse doesn’t know all the specifics; they just think that you’re paying too much.

7. Lock Em In. If you get a deal make sure you know the duration and see about making it longer. It is best to keep track of this because if you let your deals expire, your bill skyrockets. Nonetheless, some of my most effective calls have come after a big increase. You gain much more traction with a bill increase or service outage than just a random, “fed-up,” call.

8. Find a Friend. This could be the most important tip. When you find a responsive rep, stay with them. You’ll know when you get a good rep because when they put you on hold the next thing you hear is the list of deductions to your bill. They recognize that the script and tactics they are given don’t always work and sometimes the extra mile is needed. Get their name and extension and ask for them next time your bill increases. It saves you time and energy and you won’t need to lay all the groundwork again. They know why you’re calling.

9. Persistence Is Key. I still come away empty-handed sometimes, but mostly it is because I’ve been connected to a poor rep. Call back later and hopefully you’ll get someone who recognizes the type of customer their dealing with.

10. It’s Worth the Effort. I have saved my roommates and I more than $2,000 since I moved in two years ago. Not because I have any particular talent but simply because I force the issue.

(Photo: Todd Kravos)

Comments

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  1. Jakuub says:

    11. Stop paying for cable TV if you don’t need it. I ditched Cable ($60/mo), and got an unlimited 1 at a time Netflix account ($10/mo), and I’m watching more of what I want to watch than I did previously, minus live sports, but hey, that’s what friends are for.

    • IT-Chick says:

      @Jakuub:

      But you don’t get the commercials. :(

    • Jonathan Woodard says:

      @Jakuub:
      @jeffred:
      @Joel Risberg:
      But how do you get internet service? Cable is pretty much the only option in my area, and it’s $60 to get internet from them by itself.

      • Gokuhouse says:

        @Jonathan Woodard: I know what you mean, internet alone would be $45 a month for 3Mb/s but with basic cable it’s 15 cheaper. I could drop basic cable but that’d only save me 9 bucks a month…

        • bohemian says:

          @Gokuhouse: This is the scam both of our providers run. They jack the price of the core service everyone wants or needs and then make the add ons cheaper so people will keep them because they only cost a few dollars more.
          I am just hoping more content goes online or some of the media companies figure out that they can make more money selling subscriptions direct to consumers to stream it online.

      • Wombatish says:

        @Jonathan Woodard: That stinks… I won’t recommend that you go back to dial-up (I wouldn’t force that onto my worst enemy) but check into DSL and Fiber-optics.

        Many “no-name” rural providers are buying up the grids/cables AT&T and the other larger providers are trying to get rid of to increase profit.

        Then, with a little expansion from that “no-name” provider, more people have service.

        There are also often “waiting list” to have fiber-optics delivered to your area… and they go with the most serviceable, in-demand area first.. never hurts to be on the list.

      • Jakuub says:

        @Jonathan Woodard: Call and complain. Ask why you’re being penalized for being a loyal customer, and people who just signed up are paying less than you. Tell them you’ll just cancel and sign up in your roommate’s name to get the introductory rate again, so they might as well just give it to you now. Local Timewarner was trying to charge me $50/mo for cable internet, after that conversation, it’s $35/mo for the next 12 months. Also, try http://www.whitefence.com.

      • hornrimsylvia says:

        @Jonathan Woodard: You can get internet service and not get cable. Some markets charge you $5-$10/month if you only get internet service.

        I complained about this with our provider because we are paying for their top tier of service ($37.50/mo). They dropped the fee.

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      @Jakuub: But, I need my Investigation Discovery! :) And my football. *sigh* 6 1/2 more months until footbal starts again.

    • Chongo says:

      @Jakuub: I’m gonna follow the lifehacker method and buy an Apple TV and install Boxee.

      Will cost a little up front but after cancelling cable, should pay for itself in a couple months.

      • David Brodbeck says:

        @Chongo: Boxee is pretty cool, but maybe not ready for prime time yet. I’ve been playing with it on Linux. It’s great when it works, but it hangs pretty frequently.

      • framitz says:

        @Chongo:
        There is no need to waste money on Apple TV if you run MS Windows. I’m currently using the Alpha version for Windows and it works very nicely with few glitches.

        Investment = absolutely FREE.

      • falc says:

        @Chongo: do it! i havent looked back. bought an apple tv in december… slapped boxee and xbmc on it and am loving it. we also got the roku box for more movie/documentary content… plus, we just figured out how to play any torrented video thru boxee/xbmc… the possibilities are endless ;)

    • bmcclure937 says:

      @Jakuub:

      dumbest thing I have ever heard… replacing cable with Netflix?? wow, makes no sense AT ALL.

      I do not use my cable for movies, if so… then your solution may make sense. I use my cable for LIVE TV, which you cannot replace with Netflix.

      P.S. Your friends probably hate you and think you are a cheapass. Get cable, don’t bother your friends whenever you wanna watch a game.

      • oneandone says:

        @bmcclure937: That’s really mean. And I find it hard to believe you’ve never heard of anything dumber; with your clever turns of phrase, you’ve clearly been swimming in the ‘tubes long enough to have encountered things a lot stupdier than the generally reasonable suggestion that some people might not actually need cable.

    • Anonymous says:

      @Jakuub: @Jakuub: You know, I’m sick and tired of the “just cancel cable” smugness that bubbles up any time there’s a post about the subject. The best television shows are on basic and premium cable. If you like quality or speciality TV at all, you “need” cable. “Just cancel cable” is not the solution whenever there’s a problem with it.

      And there’s nothing noble about doing without cable, especially if you’re depending on your friends to pay for it when you want to watch it.

  2. calquist says:

    “Get their name and extension and ask for them next time your bill increases. It saves you time and energy and you won’t need to lay all the groundwork again. They know why you’re calling.”

    I really hate when people expect me to remember them. I talk to 500 people a day, I’m not going to remember you and your tale of woe.

    • 3drage says:

      @calquist: Not expect you to remember them, just to deal with that person in the future because they obviously know what they are doing. You’d be surprised at the amount of inept service reps out there…or probably not since you work with them. :)

    • gqcarrick says:

      @calquist: Exactly. When I worked for cable I took well over 100 calls a night and thankfully I didn’t have an extension. Once in a great while I would see I talked to someone in the past about a problem but I never mentioned it unless they did.

    • plutonyum says:

      @calquist: I wouldn’t think that the way to reward someone for reducing your rate is to demand you be able to call on them again for the same service. They might as well tell you to go screw yourself; you won’t be requesting them for anything again.

    • meske says:

      @calquist: The last time I did this, the rep actually provided her extension without me asking for it, and asked me to call her at the end of each promotion period to reup for the next one. Saved me $100/mo, so, why not.

  3. Joshua Willis says:

    With Boxee, Hulu, and torrents, I’m honestly starting to question if cable TV is even worth it anymore.

    • Diet-Orange-Soda says:

      @Joshua Willis: As long as your torrents and legal.

    • MrEvil says:

      @Joshua Willis: Even with just hulu I’m starting to question the value that cable brings me.

      I’m calling my Cable co tomorrow and telling them I want to drop my TV service because DirecTV can offer me more HD Programming at no extra cost and without cramming a DVR down my throat. I already have a computer that does all my DVR for me. I don’t care if they jack my internet by $10 it’s $75/mo for a bunch of crap I don’t even watch. I’ll take a deal if they offer, but I’m still going to cancel unless they cut that TV service cost in half. Only way I’m going to stick with $75/mo for TV is if they give me the pr0n channels for free (j/k, there’s plenty of that for free on the internets)

  4. Yoko Broke Up The Beatles says:

    All of these are good ideas. May I also add that taking copius notes of who you talked to and what that person offered you (and what you accepted) will also sort things out when you get your next bill and (surprise!) nothing has changed.

  5. wcnghj says:

    HRM, my entire cable bill is $65 for internet, phone and cable.

    It would be hard to take $100 off that :).

  6. jeffred says:

    I’m with Jakuub; I ditched my cable TV. Also ditched the land line phone. I’ve had Netflix, and I bought an Apple TV, so I could use Boxee.tv on my television. My cable bill for January was $13; for December the cable bill was $160.

    • falc says:

      @jeffred: i also went down your road… i canceled my digital cable package, stuck with basic local channels (for news mostly). my comcast cable tv bill is $13. i pay $45 for the cable internet, which i’m fine with because i use it so much…
      i bought an apple tv for christmas, slapped boxee & xbmc on it and havent looked back. i even went a step further and got the Netflix Roku box. you should check that out. for $100 you get a lot of content thru the ‘Watch Instantly’ feature… i’m DONE with paying Comca$t any more cash than they need…

  7. Joel Risberg says:

    Instead of begging them to charge me less, I skipped cable/satellite altogether like a lot of other folks here. Netflix + Tivo + Antenna + A Little Bittorrent = HD Goodness and tiny bills. I wrote it all up on my blog:

    [www.cheaplinks.net]

    • durkzilla says:

      @Joel Risberg:

      Theft is always less expensive than purchasing services legitimately…

      That said, you can find a ton of legally free entertainment online at some of the major TV network sites.

      • PunditGuy says:

        @durkzilla: Netflix, legal. Tivo, legal. Antenna, legal. Torrents… not so much. Want to remain completely legal? There’s a very nice Hulu plugin for MythTV. The only show that I used to watch that I can’t watch in high quality right now is Leverage, which is available as a postage-stamp-size video on the TNT Web site.

  8. HIV 2 Elway says:

    $190 for cable!?!? After seeing the picture you can get with an HD antenna, we’ve been considering turning ours off. I really don’t need to be watching the Dog Whisperer anyway.

    • David Brodbeck says:

      @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: Lucky. All I get with an antenna is religious broadcasters.

    • stre says:

      @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: you’re right, having nothing other than saturday morning cartoons is awesome. oh wait…

      seriously though, i rarely watch local channels, since their programming sucks a majority of the time.

    • dvdchris says:

      @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: I also found paying for TV just wasn’t worth it anymore. I mostly watch network shows, Law and Order, Fringe, Smallville, etc. I guess that makes me dull, but there is plenty to watch for free either on air or online.
      I have a $45 internet bill and a $9 Netflix plan-between all of that there is more than I can ever watch.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I ditched cable TV, internet, phone, and cellphone. I now use prepaid for 1 yr with promo, and get the free library wifi internet nearby. Price per month for the same things I used to get ~$5-7/month

  10. Aveek Datta says:

    Or if you’re stuck in a monopoly market with Comcast — no dice. I only have ‘cable’ since its a requirement for high speed internet (or price goes up more than the basic cable price). They know I have no other high speed Internet option (DSL and FIOS are not available) so BOHICA every month.

    • Etoiles says:

      @Aveek Datta: We’re in a Comcast monopoly area, too (and more’s the pity, as they are right bastards). We’ve been having an epic service meltdown with them since November, but that’s a different story.

      However, we’ve been able to keep our rates fairly low consistently. When we moved in we got a six-month promotional rate, and about five months later, my fiancé called them and talked them into another six months at their current promotional introductory rate. It’s worth a try.

  11. Claytons says:

    I just don’t see any point in spending this kind of money, even $90, for cable. I can get plenty of free content online and pay a pittance for access to the growing Netflix watch instantly without having to pay for several dozen channels I’ll never watch. Cable prices are grossly inflated, as proven by the fact that you can get $100 cut from a nearly $200 (!!) bill. Come on, if this guy watched an hour of TV a day, at $190 per month plus fees at let’s say $20, this guy was paying an average of $7 per hour of ad-supported television. That’s absurd. He’s paying less now, but still more than $1000 a year. Is TV really this important, especially with the advent of free/dirt-cheap online content?

    • orlo says:

      @Claytons: More users on the net means “congestion” which means the ISP monopoly will raise prices or restrict the amount you can download. Cable companies simply won’t accept lower profits.

    • dvdchris says:

      @Claytons: I’m with you on the expense of it, but I think you are underestimating the amount of time people watch TV. I think people easily watch at least 3 hours a night, plopping down at 7 or 8 and hitting the sack halfway through Leno.

  12. Tightlines says:

    The only thing keeping me from completely cutting off the cable is sports. Unfortunately, for us sports fans, there really isn’t a way to watch them all live without cable. That said, I pay $52/month for non-digital cable (the 40 or 50+ channels kind, not the barebones deal) and internet, which I don’t think is a bad deal at all.

    • stre says:

      @Tightlines: but how are you going to pick out the nosehairs on your favorite sports player without HD?

      • Claytons says:

        @stre: I have a similar package, but when all the fee BS is added and my bill’s on paper, I pay $73 a month. That’s a high premium for sports, when in my market I can pay less than half the pre-fee price for a competitors DSL. It’s only a matter of time before sports make it online, anyway. At least we can hope, right?

    • Ratty says:

      @Tightlines: Well, there’s ESPN 360 if your ISP supports it: [espn.go.com]

      Plus you can buy On-Ice/Full Court/Whatever packages and these days they offer the games streaming online as well as the TV feed.

    • backbroken says:

      @Tightlines: Take the $1000 you’ll save every year and buy a season ticket plan to your favorite team, as long as that team isn’t the Pittsburgh Pirates because THAT’S the definition of throwing your money away.

  13. sirwired says:

    #1 Way to cut your cable bill (if you can’t receive over-the-air signals): Search your cable system’s official rate charts for the super-reduced tier of service. This may be called “Minimum” cable, “Basic”, etc. It includes ONLY broadcast, and whatever the cable company can transmit to you for free. (i.e. Public Access, NASA Channel, etc.)

    This level of service receives ZERO advertising, and you will ONLY find it on the mind-numbingly boring official rate chart.

    I have this, and my cable bill is only $12/mo. “Standard” cable (MTV, Discovery, Food, VH1, Weather, A&E, Discovery, etc.) is $50/mo.

    In an interesting twist, they forgot to cut off the “Standard” signal, so I get those stations anyway.

    As an added bonus, this super-minimum level of service doesn’t require a cable box either.

    SirWired

    • TrueBlue63 says:

      @sirwired: They didn’t forget, according to folks in the biz, this is the way it goes, they don’t really have the ability to easily turn off those channels.

      • scoosdad says:

        @TrueBlue63: They can add a low-pass filter at the tap on the pole to eliminate channels higher than you are paying for, but my experience is that they don’t bother to send a truck out to do that, at least not immediately.

        They sometimes catch it during an annual audit of connections and may put it on later, so don’t be surprised if you suddenly lose those free channels.

        Depending on the system, some of the internet data carriers are in and among the higher tier channels and it’s difficult (but not impossible) to give you internet service, but not the channels that surround the data carriers. In my system (Charter) I was getting internet and the corresponding higher level tier at first, but they added a filter about a year into it that blocked the free channels but left the internet running intact.

      • MrEvil says:

        @TrueBlue63: Alot of times the cable guy is just too lazy to mess with putting the filter on. A friend of mine who used to work for an anonymous cable company in San Diego once told me that the company only cared about disconnects where all services were canceled. If you cancel TV but keep the internet they really didn’t check all that hard to see if he was putting filters back on.

        As far as taking advantage of their oversight, there’s nothing illegal about it to the best of my knowledge. Unethical, maybe.

  14. Fresh-Fest-1986 says:

    I spent a lot of time working for a cable company and I can tell you that while a lot of these are good thoughts most won’t work from a practical standpoint.

    For instance, his most important tip about contacting a rep consistently would have never happened where I worked. We did not have individual extensions and there was no way to contact directly from outside the company.

    Asking for a retention agent, however, is a very good idea. When you are calling to change your account you will intially talk to one group: Inbound Sales. These reps get paid commision on taking new orders. They get sidelined into handling account changes and this causes disinterest at best, and stonewalling at worst. However retention gets paid for the opposite; keeping customers. So you will end up with a higher quality of caring.

    Here is a tip when trying to get retention: call during business hours. While a lot of centers are open 24 hours in most circumstances retention is a smaller, higher paid and specialized sub-group. Therefore they tend to work the same hours as normal people.

    One last tip is to keep your complaints about higher prices to yourself on the phone. You and I both know these reps have nothing to do with setting price. And the people who do have never sat in call center in their life. In fact those yearly increases never even end up in any shape or form into the pockets of phone reps. Email those in management and use the Consumerist lists for your provider.

  15. razremytuxbuddy says:

    Woohoo! I love reading about all of the folks who’ve ditched cable! It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done for my budget. An added bonus is no longer having to deal with the cable company’s customer service. I can get all of the network stations and PBS with the air antenna that is still on my house from some prior owner, probably in the 1960s.

    • forgottenpassword says:

      @razremytuxbuddy:

      well in this economy I’d think cable would be one of the first luxuries to go. I think I saw something about time warner not making a profit because of so many subscribers cancelling (to bad it wasnt comcast).

      I have been without cable for about 4 years now (I had satellite & was paying $60 a month for the whole package except sports but since I moved I cant get satellite).

      I just saw on local tv an offer for basic cable for a year for about $12 a month & I admit I am tempted. But I just despise comcast too much to give them my money.

      • razremytuxbuddy says:

        @forgottenpassword: I was tempted a couple years ago to sign up for a limited time cable offer. But when I went to the cable offices to sign up, the customers were lined up from the customer counter all the way back to the front door. So, I turned around and walked out, remembering that bad customer service was the other reason I ditched cable.

        I also think cable programming is too repetitive and very low quality. I don’t think cable subscribers realize how little they are getting for their money. Congratulations on ditching them completely.

      • faintandfuzzies says:

        @forgottenpassword:

        Personally, I hope all the cable and satellite companies really suffer for bending us over and sticking it to us all these years. I know I like saving $70/month now!

  16. TracyHamandEggs says:

    If you get a rep you like keep their extension for the future. And send in an email to the management/company complimenting them. A lot of them get measured on those things and if you keep them happy and employed they are more willing to work with you.

    Also, friendly customers do much better then bullys and jerks. Reps are far more likely to give things away to nice folks

  17. mantari says:

    Yet somehow, they try to turn this into a game of, “Well, let’s see what services you’re willing to give up.” I probably should have been more insistent on a price break, saying what I wanted. Not getting that, I just cancelled cable tv period.

  18. forgottenpassword says:

    Another tip… seem sincere. Do your best acting. Say that you really cant afford cable anymore and that its just too much etc. etc.. (but be prepared to cancel if they call your bluff).

    That’s just one way to go. There are others (like mentioned above the cheaper offers by competitors).

  19. HogwartsAlum says:

    I thought about doing this, but I can’t live without my DTV….even though the price is going up $3. :'( My Internet keeps freezing up and until I chase down the problem, watching shows online is a pain in the butt.

    I’m thinking something is on my ‘puter that shouldn’t be there but I’m not sure where to look.

  20. Anonymous says:

    As longtime CS Phone Rep, this attachment to an individual person only goes so far. I know that I am lucid and helpful on the phone and I have had more than a few people “latch on” and refuse to talk to anyone but me. It’s disruptive to the workflow and it prevents other customers from being assisted. Plus not all of my reps are scheduled for phone duty all the time. We do give out our extensions when the situation merits a follow up, but I would sniff this guy out as a “squeaky wheel” that will be periodically trying to get the same special service time and again, and I would most likely avoid giving out my direct line.

  21. Borax-Johnson says:

    @David: yes, but you also get eternal salvation, and 5% off at Salvation Army stores

  22. kwsventures says:

    Just turnoff the TV. It has nothing but bad news, negative stories, murder and mayhem and a bunch of dopes that shout at each other and have no idea what they are talking about.

  23. Zyzzyva100 says:

    I actually just called Time Warner to ditch my TV service. The last rate hike and the fact that I need to start studying for my medical boards pushed me over the edge. I mostly watch network tv anyway, but sadly my slightly older tv doesn’t have a tuner in it. Luckily the new Tivo HD’s have an ATSC (digital) tuner, so for $13 a month instead of $74 a month (the tv portion of the bill) I still get DVR, and all the shows I want. Plus the new Tivo’s can stream netflix (already have the $10 a month account). Overall saving $60 a month now, which means the Tivo will be paid for in just about 4 months (equivalent)

  24. cromartie says:

    Get a dish.

    Split the subscription cost with a friend who orders the hardware off of eBay.

    End of problem.

  25. RogueWarrior says:

    This works with FreeCreditReport.com too. They tried to talk me down to $5 a month. I still canceled it.

  26. MinervaAutolycus says:

    Ditching cable completely isn’t an option for many of us who live in condos, especially older ones. We face the west, and the dish has to face east, so no satellite TV. Condo association doesn’t allow dishes or antennas on the roof (FCC doesn’t require them to do it anymore). Rabbit ears don’t work. And we’re certainly not going to huddle the whole family around the 17-inch computer screen in the dining room.

  27. kingdom2000 says:

    We tried that and all we kept getting was the special of the moment, which usually only lasted about three months before the bill went up.

    Instead we just cut everything but basic cable. Between the internet, netflix, and so forth, we quickly realized those extra expensive channels were not even missed.

  28. Hoss says:

    There was some mention on this blog a while back that if you get the introductory price from Comcast ($99/mo) and it expires, you should wait three months before trying to get the deal restored since they have a policy. This article says to call before the deal expires. Anyone know if the three month rule is valid??

    • Etoiles says:

      @Hoss: We had a six-month introductory rate from Comcast, starting in April 2008; five months into it, my fiancé called them and somehow got us another six-month introductory rate. We’re not on the triple play package (no phone) but if you do your research first and behave well on the phone you can definitely make it happen.

      Of course, we’ve also had some service problems so we could work in the “this is fair compensation, since we’ve been paying for service we can’t actually use” angle, but Comcast being Comcast I’m sure you’ve had a problem with them too. ;)

  29. ttk2 says:

    waring slightly off topic:

    Does anyone else have the problem where you only get a fraction of the internet speed that you pay for? For example i pay for 3mb’s down yet when i actually try to download a file i am lucky to get 400kbps less than 1/5 of the advertised. also i am very sure that it could go faster. If i begin a download form a fast server (Microsoft or Google)i get 1.5mbps for about 5 seconds then it drops down to the 400kbps again. Does anyone have any experience calling customer service for this sort of thing?

    • Etoiles says:

      @ttk2: If i begin a download form a fast server (Microsoft or Google)i get 1.5mbps for about 5 seconds then it drops down to the 400kbps again.

      That actually sounds like intentional throttling — “traffic shaping.” You may have noticed also that the promised network speeds are “UP TO [x],” not actually [x].

      That said, we’ve been having a massive problem with Comcast in our area since November, where on a speed test the upload will be literally too slow to register (while our download can be up to roughly T3 speed). On the occasions when our upload can register, it’s slower than 28k dial-up. We (mostly my fiancé) have been on Comcast about it for months and after a hell of a lot of poking around the net, he found other people in our area who were having the same problem and managed to get Comcast to start doing something besides swapping our cable modem for the 8th time.

      Do a little research on your service provider’s policies and see what others in your area have said. If they’re intentionally controlling bandwidth you’ll get nowhere, but if something’s busted, hang in there and make them fix it.

  30. TheTriarii says:

    In Southern California we have Charter cable. A couple months ago I was able to get 20 bucks of my bill by adding faster internet. It took five minutes. Doesn’t hurt to ask.

  31. tinyrobot says:

    I just lowered my cable TV/internet bill from $130/month to $30 month. Here’s how:

    1) Call and get your bill lowered as much as possible
    2) Realized that you don’t watch that much TV, and that most shows you watch (unless you have HBO/Showtime) are available streaming for free
    3) Cancel the cable TV portion of your bill entirely
    4) Download Boxee and stick it on an Apple TV, laptop or entertainment center PC
    5) Enjoy everything you used to watch, on demand, with fewer commericals, for free.

    No joke – my wife and I are happier that we were with realtime cable. Plus, the 480p Daily Show Hulu streams look way better than they used to on non-HD Time Warner on an HDTV.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Promotions and introductory offers are just that. If they’re applied back to back, accounts are usually audited and your bill will go up no matter who you talk to. The best thing you can do is evaluate what service is best for you considering the amount you’re willing to spend…at regular rate.

  33. mai_li says:

    As I work as a customer care rep for comcast, I’ll have to say these are good tips but there are some side notes to keep in mind when trying to lower your bill.

    5. Express Your Displeasure. It probably doesn’t help to kick and scream, but be stern. Ultimately, it is up to the rep whether you receive discounts so be upset with the service, not them. I’ve also found they are in better moods in the morning, so call early.

    *You can tell us you’re displeased. That’s fine and dandy but if you’re constantly rude to the rep, threatening this, that and the other and pretty much cursing a rep out (which happened to me twice today because a person couldn’t get a particular promo), then don’t expect them to work with you. In fact reps will be more inclined NOT to try our best for you. We’re human too after all. Also as a side note to this note. If your cousin Bob has a year promo, don’t automatically assume because you ask, you’ll get it. Maybe you just don’t qualify for one.

    7. Lock Em In. If you get a deal make sure you know the duration and see about making it longer. It is best to keep track of this because if you let your deals expire, your bill skyrockets. Nonetheless, some of my most effective calls have come after a big increase. You gain much more traction with a bill increase or service outage than just a random, “fed-up,” call.

    *In general, we -don’t- give promos back to back. We are quite aware of the customers that call every six months trying to get promos and we know that they promo hop. We -will- tell you no after awhile. Also, have you thought about downgrading services? A lot of customers have something I like to call “eyes are bigger than your belly.” You want everything under the sun, but when the bill comes you’re surprised that it’s the case. Do research on your deals! And remember that they’re expiring! Also if you can’t afford it then don’t get it! If you don’t need it or watch it, don’t get it! Also another side note. We cannot change the duration of a particular promo. They’re set up in such a way that they have specific time frames. If you have a promo for 44.99 for 6 months, we cannot extend it to 12.

    8. Find a Friend. This could be the most important tip. When you find a responsive rep, stay with them. You’ll know when you get a good rep because when they put you on hold the next thing you hear is the list of deductions to your bill. They recognize that the script and tactics they are given don’t always work and sometimes the extra mile is needed. Get their name and extension and ask for them next time your bill increases. It saves you time and energy and you won’t need to lay all the groundwork again. They know why you’re calling.

    *This one is an iffy issue. I’ve given customers my contact information because of an on going problem that I’ve had to follow up on to make sure whatever it is, is resolved. Ok, fine and dandy. But PLEASE don’t expect us to help you with everything under the sun. I can’t lower your bill every time you call. I have a job and I have to work it accordingly. I also talk to about 80-100 customers daily. I won’t remember you and if you’re calling for this that and the other and that’s a sure fire way to have someone avoid your calls.

    9. Persistence Is Key. I still come away empty-handed sometimes, but mostly it is because I’ve been connected to a poor rep. Call back later and hopefully you’ll get someone who recognizes the type of customer their dealing with.

    *Yes this is true…to a point. We are happy to help long time customers with good payment histories and who are reasonable with their requests. But if EVERY month we’re turning off your services and you have everything that we offer and you DON’T want to downgrade? Welps your options are pretty thin at that point.

  34. Jerome Espino says:

    I’ve done this with RCN. I’m quite satisfied with RCN and hated Comcast. I managed to knock off 30% off my bundle package.

    However, I’ve noticed the last few months my bill is slowly creeping back up. It went up $20 so far.

  35. marike says:

    Oceanic Cable (Time Warner in Hawaii) won’t budge on my bill. I called last year and tried to get it lowered, but the guy only offered to cancel our services entirely. So, we got rid of HBO, which saved us $20. I called again and the woman said she would be happy to terminate our services if I wished, so I cancelled our second cable box in the bedroom and will return it tomorrow.

    While paradise is lovely, our options are limited, so Oceanic doesn’t really have to give their current subscribers deals in order to stay. Kinda sucks.

  36. JustSayItsResearch says:

    I’ve called Comcast twice and had great bill reducing results by pointing out that it’s an interesting strategy to give their new customers discounts and package deals but they charge new customers much more for the same services.

    Reminding them of what a responsible customer you’ve been and pointing out that going elsewhere is your choice can give you a negotiating edge. But remember, be polite, but be direct as well.

  37. battra92 says:

    You know, this has never worked for me. The best I could get out of Time Warner was “Well, you could always drop a box or a premium channel.” At the time we had HBO, Starz and five boxes (extended family living in one building) so they knew we weren’t going anywhere. I took out HBO and I might be getting rid of a box if I find I can get most of the channels I want just from the cable outlet.

    Total savings: $12 a month from kicking out HBO plus a potential $8 a month savings for removing an outlet. I have no idea how to get my bill $100 lower without ditching everything. ;)

  38. faintandfuzzies says:

    This doesn’t work with DirecTV. I was with them for 10 years and called to cancel my service. They offered me a whopping $5 discount for entire year. No… thats not $5 per month… for the whole year! And that was just because ‘I was a long time customer’! I told them to screw off. I have to say, I’m very happy with OTA-TV and feeding media through my pvr setup.

  39. c_c says:

    Everyone boasting about ditching cable I guess aren’t big into live sports… that’s pretty much the only thing keeping me from using netflix/hulu/OTA. Too many college bb and MLB games on ESPN for me to sacrifice the cable!

    I am thinking of trying the HD only Dish package… maybe threatening my cable co. with that will spur a price reduction.

    • razremytuxbuddy says:

      @cc82: It’s rare that a sports event I want to watch is available only on cable. But when that is the case, I will go to a sports bar to watch it. That’s much more fun than watching at home.

  40. Eoghann says:

    They know I have no other high speed Internet option

    How do they know? I mentioned they were burying fiber in my yard as we spoke, and I was able to get a concession. They weren’t there to know that it was actually the county working on the water lines. It sure looked like fiber. :)

  41. darkryd says:

    …And the number one way to reduce your cable bill? — CANCEL YOUR CABLE.

    Start getting outside and being active.

  42. Mike S. says:

    One day, I took a good look at my cable bill–and I turned red. More than a hundred dollars for service and a DVR? Plus extra for broadband? Did the tightwad in me flee to another life form?
    That was a wakeup call. I had to get my economic mojo back.
    So first, I called my cable company and tried to get a break on my monthly bill. No go, they said. Tried several times. Nothing.
    Finally, I bit the bullet and did the following:
    1. I yanked out (well actually, properly disconnected) my cable television and my broadband.
    2. I took the devices to my cable company and told them I wanted to cancel my account immediately.
    3. Went down to the local Mart of Wall, picked up a digital converter for my bedroom TV and two indoor antennas.
    4. Went to my local phone company and signed up for their $50 a month phone/DSL service deal.
    Result: My computer expense is now just $25 a month.
    I don’t miss cable (I get my Top Chef fix on Hulu.com) and I watch nearly every local channel in HD. (Except for the NBC affiliate–still can’t get the station’s HD signal.)
    And I check out DVD’s at the local library for free.
    It’s a great life.

  43. jrizos says:

    With The Office, Southpark, and Battlestar Galactica available online at the studio’s websites, I sold my TV.

    However, I feel I’m being screwed by paying $50 a month for my broadband to Comcast. Calling for a better rate won’t work because I’m already a rock-bottom subscriber. I did this before and they offered me everything under the sun for $110 a month or some crap like that.

  44. razremytuxbuddy says:

    An alternative to Netflix is the public library. With our library, I’m able to search DVD titles and reserve a copy online, and tell them what branch I’d like to pick it up at. They send me an email when the DVD is ready to be picked up–usually just a day or two. It costs 25cents, and I can keep it for a week. They maintain a good collection of current releases, too.

  45. Smorgasbord says:

    I’m confused. Do I get $100 off each step, or is it $10 per step?

    Adam
    If you put $90 per month in an IRA until you are retirement age, how much would you have in that account to retire on?

  46. Anonymous says:

    Etoiles: You do realize that 3Mb down (that’s three mega BITS) is only 375kBps (Kilo BYTES). If you’re downloading at 400kBps, you’re getting more than you paid for, not less.

  47. bmcclure937 says:

    dumbest thing I have ever heard… replacing cable with Netflix?? wow, makes no sense AT ALL.

    I do not use my cable for movies, if so… then your solution may make sense. I use my cable for LIVE TV, which you cannot replace with Netflix.

    P.S. Your friends probably hate you and think you are a cheapass. Get cable, don’t bother your friends whenever you wanna watch a game.

  48. Anonymous says:

    I live up in the mountains 200 miles from the nearest tv station so it’s cable,satellite or nothing.The cable companies up here know it too it costs $49.00 a month for basic cable $33.00 a month for phone and $33.00 a month for high speed internet thats $115.00 a month just for the basics you need for yourself ! I can save money with satellite but I live in an apartment complex and they won’t let me put a dish on the roof.I’ve even tried to get the satellite companies to put the dish in the living room as I have a huge picture window but they tell me that the signal won’t go through glass. I find that hard to believe but what else can I do. There’s 1 cable company and 2 satellite companies competing against against each other and thats all we have up here so it’s pay through the nose or watch nothing oh well perils of living in the wildernessI guess!!! Sorry about the story of my life here but I could’nt make it any shorter.