Reader Saves $230 On Cable And Phone Bills By Rocking The Cancellation Threat

Here’s how Stephanie saved $230 on her cable and phone bills after following the tips in “3 Ways To Lower Your Out Of Control Cable, Internet And Phone Bills

Stephanie writes:

I did my research and found out that Credo Mobile (a MVNO piggybacking on the Spring network) is offering $200 towards cancellation fees on your current cell phone plan. So, I called my cell phone provider, Verizon Wireless, and explained that I’d been a loyal customer and that my contract was due to expire in less than three months but that Sprint had this great offer and that I was considering switching. They representative told me that Sprint’s coverage sucked and she was sorry to hear that I was considering a switch, and offered to give me a month free! She put me on hold and within two minutes she came back on and confirmed that I’d been given an $80 credit on my bill.

I couldn’t believe how easy it was.

Next I called Comcast. I was more than a bit intimidated, because I’ve had issues with Comcast in the past, but I figured I’d give it a try anyway. I tried the same tactic: loyal customer, can you give me a break on my bill. The customer service rep played hard ball. I told him that their website had all kinds of deals. He said they were only for new customers. I told him Verizon Fios was offering deals. He wouldn’t budge.

Finally, I said, “Would Comcast rather I switch to another company?” He finally said he would check for any promotional offers. He put me on hold and said he could knock off $25 from my bill for the next six months.

So, I just wanted to say thanks.

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


Edit Your Comment

  1. Anonymous says:

    That sounds great didn’t work for me tho. I tried that also and had no luck. I called AT&T (4 different times) since I have 3 lines two are not under contract and one has 4 months left. Each time the rep told me I can add more min by upgrading my plan or add more text by paying extra for more. I got nothing free, not a credit or extra text or bonus min’s.
    The last call I said I needed to cancel and was told about my prorated ETF and my prorated bill I would receive in the mail. It was basically like OK cancel we don’t care, we have millions of people.
    Dish Network did the same but only when I was really wanting to cancel they told me they could give me $100 off and an extra receiver with the fee waived for a year, IF I went into a new 2 year contract (I didn’t do it).

  2. downwithmonstercable says:

    In college I did the “I’m a college student and I can’t afford the internet anymore now that it’s past the promotional offer period and I need to cancel” tactic and they knocked it back down to the promotional offer for six months. Six months later, I did the same thing. It was awesome, no questions asked.

    Now if only my mortgage lender was as easy to get the rate lowered…

  3. weakdome says:

    I walked a friend through this process recently.
    He kept getting No for an answer, and I told him he just needed to call back, call back… took him 5 calls but he ended up getting his promo rate extended for another year (otherwise it would have been a +$60/month price hike, ouch!)

  4. Anonymous says:

    Nothing wrong with the old cancellation tactic, but just remember, if you’re going to use this method, better be prepared for them to call your bluff. Make sure that you’re okay with switching to that deal you’re trying to leverage with your current provider before you make the call!

  5. says:

    I understand that people like to save some money here and there, but i think it’s really childish to bitch just to get something for free. im not saying the OP was bitching, but lets not go overboard here, and complain for the sake of attempting to get something for free.

    • waza0 says:
      people that don’t try just get nothing
      those people annoy me most of the time, but i know i should try to act more like that, it’s good for my wallet

    • SacraBos says: The other way to look at it, is everyone that doesn’t try to get a better deal are sheeple getting ripped off.

      That’s part of what The Consumerist is all about – WE are paying THEM for service. We want the best value we can get (value being subjective, of course).

      Personally, I think she should have dumped Comcast and gone FIOS anyway. Just make sure you personally verify where your electrical lines are before the dude drills a hole through a panel and burns your house down. Disclaimer: I have business and residential FIOS service.

    • Raiders757 says:

      It’s not about getting anything for free. It’s about getting a truely fair price. Cox cable, phone, and internet bills are going through the roof, yet the service is going backwards. They’ll keep pushing your payments up until you complaine, so you can do one of two things. Be a sucker, or get your bill lowered.

      Cable companies are reaming us, and we’re getting less and less for it every year.

    • chrisjames says: It’s not about bitching to get free stuff, and it’s not about getting a fair price either.

      It’s called haggling and it’s an important part of business that the American consumer has mostly forgotten. Businesses are willing to sell well below their set price points, and below any break-even price if they need. That’s how individual valuations are accommodated in the system. There’s more to every sale than a dollar-for-dollar trade (which is far from “fair” for both parties).

      Without haggling, though, that price point floats upward as people are willing to pay ever greater amounts for no good reason. It’s not anyone’s fault that it happens, either business or consumer, it’s just uncontrolled drift. Haggling is one of the key mechanisms that keeps the scales of control balanced between business and consumer. The others aren’t allowed to be spoken of anymore.

    • theblackdog says: For me it’s not so much that I want to get something for free, but I think I should be able to pay the same price that other people are paying as well, especially when it is a non-promotional price.

      I have Verizon DSL, I currently pay $43 a month for it, they now offer it for $30 to new customers, and it is the same speed, and it is not a promo price for only X amount of time. Isn’t it okay for me to call and ask for the lower price, especially because I have been with them for over a year?

  6. weave says:

    My cable company has to offer broadcast channels at a deeply discounted rate of around $15/month so I bet if you call to ask to switch down to that tier you can get the same leverage. And if you don’t get satisfaction, just take the cheap tier and deal with it for a month or so, then take a new deal on an upgrade later.

  7. davere says:

    I think it’s sad that companies don’t reward loyalty. I’d be more willing to stay with a company that offered me deals for remaining a customer than if I was a new customer.

  8. poetry1mind says:

    Using the “i’m canceling” tactic does work because I used that last year with Cable Vision. The problem was that I felt extra guilty for doing it…almost like I was begging.
    Oh well, it was still a great way to save but what happens after it expires? I couldn’t imagine calling back again…

  9. ironchef says:

    it works with newspaper subscriptions too.

  10. rimplestultskin, macberry fanboy says:

    it got my sprint bill down to unprecedented low prices. my entire family plan has a free ride for text, internet and email, so we only pay for minutes and insurance.

  11. Corporate-Shill says:

    And what happens when the company calls your bluff?

    Or worse, what happens when the companies increase their starting rates just so they can fark with the rates in future years?

  12. BradleyElipticate says:

    When I worked at Charter, the way it worked was this:

    Anyone who wanted to cancel was sent to the retention department. Retention had all sorts of deals they could put you in to keep you as a customer. Because really, odds are, if you leave, you aren’t coming back ever. And if they put you on a 3 or 12 month deal, you’ll forget whatever was making you want to get DirecTV in the first place by the end of it.

    Anyhow, Retention had access to all sorts of unique retention only promos, some of them were even better deals than the new customers got (or in some cases, it was the 3 mo customer deal extended to 12mo as a retention deal).

    So if at all possible, try to reach a retention department. Hit the menu option that says you’re disconnecting service, or hell, ask for it. The last thing a regular CSR wants to deal with is a pissed off customer who wants to cancel, especially when there’s a retention department who does that as a job.

    • bishophicks says:


      I just cancelled my Charter service in Massachusetts. The CSR processed my request and told me where to drop off my equipment. The end. I was not offered any deals, not forwarded to retentions, and not asked what they could do to keep me as a customer.

      If they had asked I would have told them that I was unhappy paying $84/month for digital tier, standard definition, no premium channel service with a single DVR.

      So buh bye Charter, you can fight for my business next year when the promotional period with Verizon ends. And Verizon, you’d better be ready to at least match any promotional rate Charter may be offering at that time.

  13. Cankles says:

    Well, here’s a stupid story.

    I claimed bankruptcy a while back after a bad marriage and I was left holding the bag, the credit debt, and the children (which I am happy for) after my ex-husband left the country. Anyhow, I claimed bankruptcy back in 02 and was continually harassed by past creditors that I didn’t include on my bankruptcy case.

    What happened: A kind creditor alerted me of the California law after I had paid 5,000 towards creditors on debt covered under California bankruptcy laws. I was able to get that 5k back…

    Don’t worry, I now pay over 30k in income taxes which more that covers the bankruptcy.

    So the moral of the story: If you don’t pay attention, you’ll get f’d over by just about anyone.

  14. b3m87 says:

    just goes to show you how overpriced internet/cable already is that they can afford to knock half off every month

  15. docrice says:

    XM is hardcore about customer retention – I had to speak to two or three people to cancel (I cancelled because I moved and get crappy signal as I drive along a very large mountain every day) and by the end of the call, they offered to improve the signal in my area AND give me 3 months free if I signed up for 12 months at half price. If I hadn’t been so dead set on cancelling I would have taken the deal, but the signal sucked half of my drive to work and I wanted to save up for a house.

  16. HFC says:

    I wish I could do this. Both my Verizon Wireless and FiOS (internet and cable) plans are lower than any current plans that Verizon or anyone else offer. I’m happy with what I have but, short of canceling the services, I doubt I can pay less than I am.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @HFC: I think you can. Verizon is always running promotions, you just have to catch wind of when they have promotions and ask, even if the new pricing is for new customers.

  17. trippinbillyfl says:

    I just finished my 6 months of promotional rates with Comcast and my bill went from $100 to $170 (for cable and internet). I called them up to let them know that the new rate was not acceptable and that I could do better elsewhere, unless they wanted to continue my old rates or give me a new deal. They said they could reduce my service plan to save a few bucks, but that was it. No budging and no more deals. I’m not really hooked on cable, so I went ahead and canceled. They didn’t even seem to care. I figure the timing is right now that my xbox will support Netflix streaming later this week!

    I returned the cable box to their local office on Saturday and was shocked to see that at least half the people were there to cancel their service. It really sucked hearing one guy say that he was canceling because there was no more work for him. You would think Comcast would be willing to compromise in todays economy.

  18. Bahnburner says:

    Hey all, just wanted to let you know I just saved $50 per month (November 2008) as an existing Verizon customer with FIOS phone, internet and TV. I requested the Triple Play promotion and for $50 less, they bumped my Internet from 15mbps to 20mbps and added a mess of HD channels which now look stunning through the plasma. The only caveat was a one-year agreement. Thanks Consumerist!

  19. kittenfoo says:

    I wish I had the moxie to try this. As it is, I pay an insane amount each month for a landline phone that is only used to send a couple of faxes here and there. Maybe someone should make a business out of this: calling up your providers, negotiating a better deal for you, then taking a fee based on the savings you get.

  20. Limekiller says:

    I’m not sure I could pull this off. For internet, Mediacom cable’s my only option because DSL isn’t available. If Mediacom’s smart they’d check when people call and see if they have DSL as an option. For mobile, I’m locked into AT&T with an iPhone. I can’t stand the idea of carrying my cellphone around the house, so I’m not giving up a landline and Mediacom’s VOIP bundle is more expensive than my landline fees. I am however, seriously considering something like Magicjack or Ooma for no-fee VOIP.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @Limekiller: I think you should probably re-evaluate your priorities and see where you might just have wiggle room. First, you say you can’t stand the idea of carrying your cell phone around the house… is it really that big of a deal? The iPhone doesn’t weigh a pound, all you have to do is when you’re moving from one general area to another, pick it up and move it with you. It’s not like you have to keep it strapped to your hip.

      Relinquishing this idea that simply moving a cell phone from one area to another is a burden is your first step in ridding yourself of a landline. Money saved.

  21. corinthos says:

    In my area I am forced to choose between WOW and Time Warner for cable. I called up WOW and told them straight out that I didn’t want to cancel because I know Time Warner sucks but what I am paying for what I am getting with them sucks also. I called Time warner to get a price quote of the closest thing to what I had, they gave me 94 dollars total. I told WOW that my total bill had to be under 94 after taxes. My bill went from 115-89, they through in the HD dvr, their modem and upgraded my internet and threw in showtime because I told them I wanted to watch dexter. I have all that for a year now at that price.

  22. Starfury says:

    I found a way to lower my cable/internet bills: I dumped Comcast/Tivo and switched to Dish/ATT. My bill is $30 less than before, my internet is just as fast and I’m getting 2x more channels/music with better picture than Comcast.

  23. kwsventures says:

    This tactic is not foolproof. Many customer service reps, especially those that don’t care, will let you just “cancel”. I did the same thing with the Los Angeles Times. I quit my subscription 4 months ago. Nobody from the Times tried to change my mind. Bad circulation dept. customer service from the dying newspaper company. No attempt to save my 13 year account or even ask me why I was quitting. They just let me go. Poof.

  24. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I think an alternative tactic to threatening to cancel is to be polite, and simply ask what they can do for you. It helps to sound slightly dejected, which I’m sure we all do when we start talking to customer service reps.

    The secret is that if you are truly unhappy with your service itself (not just the price) you’re going to cancel because the service is poor. But if you like the service (or it’s better than the alternatives in your area) and just dislike the price, threatening to cancel gets you nowhere if the company calls your bluff. They’ll drive you to their competition, but you hate their competition. It’s your loss.

    The better tactic is to watch for when your contracts or services end and politely ask about whether you can get a better rate. Again, it helps to sound a little dejected.

    First you let them know you’re not dissatisfied with the service (which indicates that know you are a loyal customer), then you tell them the rates have become a little high, and you’re wondering what they can do about it. Don’t give them a fixed price, like “can I get half off my bill?” because if they agree, it’s like a win for you, but they feel like they’re the loser.

    Instead, ask what they can do about it – that gives people a choice, and it gives them this feeling that they’ve helped someone. In a small, small way it’s rewarding, and it gives customer reps some authority, and let’s face it – if you’ve worked retail or customer service, and everyone treats you like dirt, wouldn’t you like to feel a little valuable?

    I did this and saved $5 a month off my internet bill. I like my internet just fine, I was just curious as to whether I could save any more money. $5 a month isn’t a ton, but it adds up to being $60 which pays for two months of gas or electricity.

  25. ReverseCarpetbagging says:

    Has anyone tried this with Optimum? They seemed ready for me to cancel my programming.

    Also, just in case anyone hasn’t realized it, if you are a current customer that already has their Triple Play (or whatever the 3-in-1 is), then you don’t qualify for the cheaper rates that they advertise on TV for their current customers. Kind of stinks for the people in the NY area. They apparently give some kind of Optimum Rewards rebate each month, but my bill is definitely more now.

    Too bad I live in an apartment or I might get DirecTV.

  26. admiralq says:

    I had the Optimum triple play package for a year which expired and they would not extend it. I called them later to cancel the phone service since I went with T-Mobile @ Home for $10/mth. They sent me to the retention department and gave me a 1 year promotion for free phone service. Now I save $35/mth (dropped the boost 30M @ $10/mth, since 15MB d/l is fast enough) and have two phone lines. Cable/Internet/Phone bill is now down to what I was paying when I had the triple play package deal.