Save $420 On Your Comcast Bill By Being A Pain In The Butt

Jeff in Seattle saves $420 a year on his Comcast bill by calling the company once every 6 months and demanding they keep him at the lowest competitive rate of $29.99. He threatens to go to Qwest if they don’t give him that rate. He’s been doing this for several years now, and it keeps working.

How to Save $420 on Your Comcast Cable Bill This Year [TechFlash] (Thanks to James!)

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  1. Bativac says:

    This has never worked with me. Both my wife and I have called several times over the past few years to try to squeeze a lower rate out of Comcast to no avail.

    This time, I think we’re ready to just walk away.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Based on previous consumerist articles, and confirming them with my own experiences, do the following:

      Request subscription reductions via their online chat support. Suppoedly, these are not actually Comcast employees, they are outsourced, and are much more willing to work with you on rates. Basically, you get the promo rate currently going on for new customers.

      Haven’t had an issue yet. My bill is $40-50 less a month than it was before.

      • Bativac says:

        I am trying this when I get home today. I guess it’s worth a shot.

      • Fidget says:

        Thank you for this!! My grandmother’s been trying to get a cheaper cable package (not sure which company off the top of my head, but I would assume similar online things apply across the board?), but anyone on the phone knows that they’re the only company that serves her area, so even when we told them, “Well, if you can’t lower it, we’re canceling,” they don’t budge. Pretty awesome advice, sir.

    • redskull says:

      Me neither. Last year I decided I was done with cable, and when I called to tell them I was dropping it, they asked would I consider keeping it if they could lower the bill. I said maybe, and asked what they had in mind. They were willing to drop the bill by $10 a month. I told them forget it.

    • crazydavythe1st says:

      You have to be willing to walk. When you say “cancel”, that’s when they are willing to work with you.

      • davere says:

        Yes, I was about to switch to U-Verse so I called my current cable company and told them I was switching unless I was given a competitive rate. They said they had nothing to offer me at that moment. No problem. I ended the call and ordered U-Verse.

        It was installed 2 days later. Once it was working, I called the cable company and I gave them the order to cancel. It was at that point that they were willing to work with me. Too late. I don’t miss them either.

  2. mbz32190 says:

    My father does this every 6 months. Last time, he was able to get free HD service for a year (as recently got a new flat screen TV) and a few bucks off the internet.

  3. El Matarife says:

    My magic pill is using Comcast chat. As long as you are willing to sit somewhere near your computer for an extended period of time you are golden. They can’t kick you out of the chat room and they are graded based on the survey results, time, etc.

  4. DrWebster says:

    I used to do this as well, but just last week my promo rate expired and they wouldn’t let me keep it. They claimed that their software wouldn’t let them offer promo rates back-to-back any more. Several reps I talked to said the same thing; all the more they’d do is help me downgrade to a (marginally) cheaper package. I ended up canceling cable with them outright, and they didn’t try to stop me.

    • Sammich says:

      It’s not unusual for telecom providers to require 30 or 60 days at regular rates before a new promotional rate can be applied. Often, staying at the regular rate for 1 or 2 months is still cheaper than the cost associated with switching – though outright cancellation without replacing the service is a different story.

    • calchip says:

      Total lie. I’ve gotten the same BS from various people, but I can always find somebody, with persistence, to find a way to do it.

  5. Fuzzy_duffel_bag says:

    I called a while back, and the only way to get a half decent deal was to cut loads of channels. In my town the only other option is satellite, and I doubt my landlord would be stoked about me putting a dish on her beautiful victorian house. Maybe I’ll try the chat.

    • "I Like Potatoes" says:

      Some people don’t know this, but you can also have them install your dish on a fence (a strong fence) or even on a pole in the yard, as long as you don’t have too many trees in the way. We’ve had our dishes installed this way many times.

  6. salviati says:

    I have been doing this as well, but typically I have to call 6-10 times to get someone knows how to apply the promotions for internet-only without also signing up for a cable line. I think the customer service lines have different policies regionally, because friends I know in other markets don’t nearly have as much trouble as I seem to have (and yes, I am incredibly polite to the reps).

    • NarcolepticGirl says:

      hmm.. I guess we’ll just have to keep trying. We have internet only as well… and no one seems to be able to lower our rate. We’ve tried online chat and the regular customer service line.

  7. Destron says:

    Pfft… I told them fix my internet or im switching to Qwest. The rep responded “Would you like to cancel that account effective today?” I said Yes.

  8. BassLady says:

    Sounds great, but only for places where Comcast doesn’t hold a monopoly. Charter has the monopoly here, and if there were any other options, believe me, we’d jump on them. However, since we live in an apartment, we’re not allowed to put up a dish b/c it’s “tacky”, and I can’t drill holes in the outer walls.

    Wow, sorry for the buzzkill. Must be hump day. :-P

    • PunditGuy says:

      Sorry if you know this already… it’s the FCC rule about where you can install a dish.

      http://www.fcc.gov/mb/facts/otard.html

      Q: If I live in a condominium or an apartment building, does this rule apply to me?

      A: The rule applies to antenna users who live in a multiple dwelling unit building, such as a condominium or apartment building, if the antenna user has an exclusive use area in which to install the antenna. “Exclusive use” means an area of the property that only you, and persons you permit, may enter and use to the exclusion of other residents. For example, your condominium or apartment may include a balcony, terrace, deck or patio that only you can use, and the rule applies to these areas. The rule does not apply to common areas, such as the roof, the hallways, the walkways or the exterior walls of a condominium or apartment building.

  9. MonkeyMonk says:

    This used to work for me back when I lived in Illinois. I’d call Comcast once a year and ask for them to provide a discounted rate or I was going to leave for cheaper satellite. The trick for me was always getting transferred to “retention” and then the purse strings would start to loosen. This worked 3 years in a row and then they caught on (or at least there started to be a note trail on my account) and they called my bluff.

    Luckily, I soon moved to RI where there is healthy competition between cable (Cox) and FiOS. I went with FiOS and now have more features, better connections, and it’s still less money per month than I used to pay Comcast.

  10. eccsame says:

    Great idea. Unless you live in a market where there is no competition. Comcast is the only game in town since my city decided to give them a monopoly. So this ploy never works when I call. It’s more like “lower my rate or I’ll cancel cable!” To which they reply, “have fun watching nothing!”

    • UnicornMaster says:

      That’s assuming there is a competitor. Yeah most markets don’t have other cable providers and Comcast doesn’t match Dish or DirecTV. Even if you have U-Verse they’ll tell you all the differences and say, have fun!

  11. Raekwon says:

    I’ve always done this as well but this time they seem to be calling my bluff. There really isn’t a comparable alternative where I live and I think they’ve figured that out. I may actually have to go through with canceling my service all together since I can’t afford it and they refuse to be reasonable in their pricing. I got a month to figure it out. How is HULU or Netflix with streaming current shows? I think I SOL on my desire to watch NFL games :(

    • chucklebuck says:

      Hulu is pretty good in general. You won’t get everything right away (a lot of current Fox shows have a very annoying 8 day delay) but some networks post stuff the very next day (NBC, ABC Family, a few others). So it’s kind of a mixed bag in that regard, but I found that it didn’t take me too long to get used to it. It’s just a different mindset. House is on Tuesday instead of Monday and I’m a week behind everyone else. After awhile, that just becomes its regular schedule in my head.

      As for the NFL, you can get that $350 DirectTV without DirectTV Sunday ticket thing and watch the games. Still cheaper than cable in most cases.

      • "I Like Potatoes" says:

        You can also try a website like CastTV. It lists shows by the day they air and you usually have access to them the next day after airing. I watch most of my shows this way simply because I have kids and we try to have the TV turned off in the evenings.

    • partofme says:

      If you’re fine waiting a day for tv shows…. and you are an isolated enough fan that you can likewise wait a day for your NFL games without having someone ruin it for you, NFL Rewind is available online for like $40 for the entire season. Unlike Sunday Ticket, it includes Sunday night games, Monday night games, even those trbl Thursday night NFL network games. I haven’t actually done this yet… but I’m reaaaallly thinking about it.

    • Fidget says:

      Have you tried getting one of those converter boxes to see what channels you can access without cable? We actually get 50 or so with the box, most of them garbage but there are still the basic channels, and all the public access you could ever want. At least you (I would assume?) get ABC, NBC, Fox, CBS through just that.

    • ames says:

      I found it very freeing to dump my tv and only have internet. With Hulu and network sites and whatnot, I watch tv on my own schedule, and didn’t have to worry about the DVR getting full, etc.

      Granted, I don’t watch shows like True Blood or Lost, where EVERYONE was talking about them the next day, so my chances of being spoiled for big plot events is pretty small.

  12. DogInYellowCoat says:

    I do the exact same thing. I actually have one reps direct phone number. I call her, she knows who I am, goes in and re-adjusts my plan every 6 mos or 1 year, depending on the current promotions. IT RUUULES! I pay ~$70/month less than my parents, and I get HBO, Starz, DVR & HD.

    If you’ve never done it, call the customer service number and ask for the customer retetion department, say your friend told you about how great FiOS is and you’re switching, they’ll help you out nice and quick.

  13. photoguy622 says:

    Didn’t work for me with Cablevision. I only got another year on the 99/month plan, after that I did cancel.

    However, AT&T has been very accommodating. They put me on a $29/month plan they don’t advertise.

  14. aloria says:

    Threatening to switch only works if you have someone else to switch to. I suppose I could bluff and say I’m getting satellite (my condo doesn’t allow dishes,) but cable is pretty much my only option when it comes to Internet service.

    • OnePumpChump says:

      If there is only one option it must be because that is what the customers wanted under a free market, and that must mean that they are the best.

    • PunditGuy says:

      Your condo can’t ban dishes. There are rules.

      http://www.fcc.gov/mb/facts/otard.html

      • majic2516 says:

        Yup FCC Rules > Apartment/Condo Rules

        • aloria says:

          Read the link. They have every right to ban them from areas which are not considered “exclusive use.” Most apartment dwellers don’t get the luxury of a balcony or patio, so the roof or building exterior is the only option for a usable dish, which is not covered by the FCC rules.

      • aloria says:

        “The rule applies to antenna users who live in a multiple dwelling unit building, such as a condominium or apartment building, if the antenna user has an exclusive use area in which to install the antenna. “

        I have no such “exclusive use area.” Even if I did, it wouldn’t do me much good since I live on the ground level and wouldn’t get a signal.

        “The rule does not apply to common areas, such as the roof, the hallways, the walkways or the exterior walls of a condominium or apartment building.”

        These are the only places I could install a dish to get signal, and the condo has every right not to allow me to install there, according to the information you’ve linked to.

        • PunditGuy says:

          You originally said that your condo “doesn’t allow dishes” — and while there are legitimate conditions that must apply, they can’t have a blanket policy that disallows dishes. That was my point.

          Depending on where you live, if you have a south-facing window you might be able to get service by putting the dish on a post inside your condo.

  15. Flawd says:

    I do the same thing!
    My bill for Internet and extended HD cable with no deals should be over $100 and I keep it at $80 by calling.

  16. NarcolepticGirl says:

    We have tried this several times in the last 6 months since we’re now paying $71 a month for “performance” internet service only. And especially since they’ve screwed up our billing a few times and accused us of not returning our modem when we moved (which, after an EECB, they suddenly ‘found it in the warehouse’).

    We’ve done this through online chat and on the phone. We said AT&T has a cheaper rate… they just don’t care.

    I think we’re going to switch to AT&T if we have anymore issues, though.

  17. SkyGuy79 says:

    …just worked for me. Got my rate lowered to $27.99 for six months, $10 monthly fee for the 16-20gbps internet waived for 3 months (she said to try calling back in 3 months for further discount) and $5/month modem rental waived for NINE months…giving me an instant $45 credit. I feel like its Christmas!

  18. Julia789 says:

    This doesn’t work for me because Cablevision knows my building can receive no other service. We tried.

    • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

      Sorry to hear. At least in the building I’m in, I have a choice between bad cable company (Rogers) and bad almost-FIOS company (Bell). Tell Rogers “Bell’s been offering some nice rates”, Rogers bends over, at least for now. Next year I’ll bitch again. Will they listen?

      • Julia789 says:

        They have a total monopoly in my area. The competitor only services certain areas and/or high-rise buildings. We’re trying to lure the competitor by agreeing to have at least 60% of the condominiums in our high-rise building sign up for their plan, which would make it worth their while to wire up the building (which costs a lot).

  19. CaptCynic says:

    Anybody have success doing this with Directv?

    • zentec says:

      As long as you’re happy with a $20 discount. I told them I was switching to cable because of a great deal, and that was the best they could offer.

      The cable company offered me a bundled package of internet and TV for $65 less (for 2 years!) than what I pay now with cable internet and TV from DirecTV. Sure, DirecTV is great; but it’s not *that* great.

  20. Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

    A little caveat emptor for the OP – eventually, Comcrap will call your bluff and say “fine, go to Qwest, see if we care.” They’ll figure out eventually you’re probably costing them more than you’re worth (either by almost zero profit margin, or the time you’re tying up the CSR/retention team.) It’s amazing it’s still working for you.

    • Chaosium says:

      Yeah, definitely. The majority of the country I’m sure has no real competition to speak of for leverage.

  21. backinpgh says:

    I think it depends a lot on your area. When I lived in Detroit they’d pretty much do whatever I said if I threatened to cancel; I’m sure they are losing a lot of money in that area due to the economy. But once I moved back to Pittsburgh I couldn’t get them to budge at all on prices.

  22. Not Again says:

    I’ve been doing this with my daily newspaper for 25 years. No threats, just calling to cancel or asking for the lowest rate. Also, recently, with Satellite radio. $20 for 6 months is pretty darn good

    Yes, I am of the group who would rather drink coffee and read an actual newspaper than sit in front of my computer for the news.

  23. momtimestwo says:

    My husband does the same thing here in Nashville. Our “discounted rate” expired last month and it went from $126 to $204!!! DH called comcast, like he has to do every year, and they returned it to the $126 rate.

  24. Sanshie says:

    Screw the cost. I’d just like it if Comcast could fix it so there’s no tiling and the audio doesn’t drop out every other sentence. Tired of guessing what Dianne Sawyer is saying!

  25. MedicallyNeedy says:

    HBO, SHO, Starz, internet, dual tuner HD DVR $84 bucks a month with the new promo. This is $20 cheaper then the last promo. I mark my calendar to call 1 month before expiration and press the prompts to cancel and automatically get forwarded to the retention department. I was not lying this time. Money’s tight!

  26. sheriadoc says:

    I dumped Comcast a few months ago. Never tried this tactic. U-verse is cheaper in my area, and I get the same speed and no bandwidth cap.

    Plus I hate calling them. I’m still trying to pay the $5 I have left on my account. They closed my online account, so I tried calling to pay the thing off. Ended up in the queue for an agent. He told me it’d cost $5.99 to pay the $5 bill over the phone, and would I like to be transferred to the automatic payment line? I said fine. I was put back in the queue for an agent. Yeah, thanks.

  27. kathygnome says:

    Just to clarify, I hear a lot of people say their local town or county has given Comcast or whomever a monopoly. That’s simply not true. Monopoly agreements have been forbidden by the federal government for years and years. Any other company is free to get a license, come in, and set up a competing system. The thing keeping most areas to a single cable company is the marketplace. The existing franchise has an installed base and people are incredibly difficult to get to switch from one system to another. Usually “overbuilders” like RCN or FIOS come in and cherry pick wealthy suburbs where they know the customers are a bit more tech savvy and willing to spend on the big packages.

    As per FCC rules your local town or city has very little ability to actually negotiate on the cable license. In practical terms it comes down to how much they’re going to tack on as a franchise fee for local access PEG (public, educational, government) channels. They’re specifically forbidden to negotiate on price, channel selection, or channel packaging. It’s really almost impossible to deny a company a license if they apply or to deny a renewal.

    • Minze says:

      There are other ways to prevent this without having a Monopoly agreement.

      For example, about 10 years ago RCN wanted to begin service in Philadelphia. This would require cable installation along “right of ways”. Many localities require city council approval by ordinance as a pre-requisite to allowing a provider to access local public rights-of-way. Philadelphia city council kept delaying the vote on the RCN request. After 2 years of delays RCn build AROUND Philadelphia. I am sure this had absolutely nothing to do with Comcast having their headquarters here or being a major contributors to the Philadelphia city council. There were probably just too many more important things during those 2 years.

  28. peebozi says:

    i do this too.

  29. wkm001 says:

    Yup, this is exactly why we need more competition. This guy is able to do it because he has a choice. The commenters below that can’t get the discount probably don’t have another choice. Well maybe DSL for internet but that isn’t nearly as fast.

  30. Brainphart says:

    I grew so tired of Comcast’s poor picture and expensive service that I switched to Dish. Dish’s picture quality was better and the price was lower but I hated the outages that storms brought. Enter EPB Fiber (Chattanooga’s government owned utility) http://epbfi.com/ Phone, Internet (30Mbps up and down) and HDTV with Starz and HBO for $151.93 – *NOT* a promo price either. Happy, Happy!

  31. GregGates says:

    Hmmm, repeatedly calling up to abuse phone reps and demand a rate that shouldn’t continue based on terms you agreed to… Your behavior to maintain this rate is unethical, petty and constitutes theft if you ask me. I think it’s time you renewed some self-respect and actually switched companies if you desire a lower price point.

    Trash only.

  32. Burzmali says:

    We did this just last week. Well, not this exactly, but something like it. We have tv and internet, and our payments were over $100. My wife called and said “we want to pay $80. What can you do for us?” They gave us the $29.99 for tv and the $42.99 rate for internet. I think we’re $0.50 over with fees, or something like that, but I still call it a win.

  33. Chreestopher says:

    I don’t get it. If he hates Comcast and their business practices so much, why doesn’t he just go with the equivalent offer from Qwest?

  34. Bizzarre says:

    This worked for me…mostly. I did the online chat, they were able to get me $24.99 for 6 months. However b/c I recently moved, I had an open ticket to finish transferring services – so they couldn’t complete the order. I called in to customer service, they verified that the notes were entered but couldn’t do anything either.

    Fast forward to today, called in and the sales department said that they don’t do any price matching but they saw the notes on my account. I said that if they can’t do this, I’ll switch to Qwest. Ended up talking with the retention department who said that Qwest uses fiber optics and that the fiber optic lines lose signal over long distances. I called her on her bs…she put me on hold and came back to give me the $24.99 rate for 6 months.

    tldr; online chat -> retention department = $24.99/month for 6 months

  35. combs1945 says:

    I do exactly the same thing. My Comcast bill should be $160 a month. But every six months I go in person, do the riot act and they lower it to $110 a month. You must go in person to their location, because they will not do it over the phone.

  36. gman863 says:

    If Comcast has denied your request for a lower rate, heads up!

    Here are the tricks that finally dropped my rate by almost half to $29.99 per month for one year:

    * Call your local Comcast office (not 1-800-COMCAST) during weekday business hours and specifically ask for the “retention department”.

    * Before calling, research what ISP in your area has the best rate on the speed of service you want (here, it’s Clear wireless 4G home Internet at $35/month; rate guaranteed for life). Start the conversation by saying something to the effect of, “I discovered (competitor name) can offer me the same service I have through Comcast at ($$ per month). If I decide not to switch, what can you do for me?” This will put the retention rep into “Let’s Make A Deal” mode.

    * Stay polite but firm on the exact services you do (or don’t) want. The rep kept trying to offer me “Triple Play” bundles or free premium channels. Only after the third time I politely stated I wanted the best rate on high speed (6MBs) Internet only did the rep make the $29.99/month for a year offer.

    * Beat down any “downgrade” or tech fees if you’re dropping cable TV in the process. I was able to get the one time fee dropped from $34.95 to $16.95.

    It took me a few tries. As Donald Trump might say, I guess it’s in “The Art of the Deal”.

  37. Lucy says:

    A couple of years ago, we decided to cut our monthly bills. I spent hours on the phone with various service providers (this bundling of services makes it so complicated), and in the end, decided to give up our Comcast expanded cable, which included lots of channels and that cable box. That whole time-consuming process was an irritatingly consufing ordeal.

    Well, the cable guy came out and removed the cable box, after which he asked me how many channels I was supposed to be getting now. I told him I honestly didn’t know, but I thought 35 or so. He said to me “You’ll be getting a few more than that.” I said something like, “You’re kidding, you changed packages again?” And he said “No, I just don’t want to climb up that pole and disconnect it.”