Update: A deal has been reached. Crisis averted. Viacom is demanding that Time Warner Cable pay more for the right to broadcast its networks, but TWC has refused. Tonight at midnight, 13.3 million subscribers in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Cleveland will feel the effects of the stalemate first hand when Viacom makes good on its threat to pull all of its networks from TWC. Translation: no more “The Daily Show,” “Dora the Explorer,” “The Colbert Report,” “The Hills,” etc. But hey, there’s always Hulu and BitTorrent, right?
Assuming negotiations succeed, you’ll have your Pandora to listen to after all. On Tuesday, Congress passed the Webcaster Settlement Act, which gives Internet radio stations like Pandora until February 2009 to reach a new royalty agreement with copyright holders; if they meet the deadline, the government will not interfere, which is great news since it was the gov’s Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) that set the current market-killing fees in the first place.
If arguing for completely getting out of your AT&T early-termination-fee isn’t your thing, you can try doing what Felix did and get 75% off it.
New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson has proposed tying a Cable Consumer Bill of Rights into the 10-year franchise renewals Time Warner and Cablevision are expected to sign later this year. The proposal would force cable operators to disclose information about their expenses and service goals—which sounds nice and important on paper—but wastes an unrivaled opportunity to end the cable operators’ most hated practices.
Moriconi writes in to tell us how he was able to save $950 this week by uprooting the hidden fees and renegotiating the things in his life he was paying too much for. Awesome! Here’s his true story:
No one can take power from you unless you give it to them, but people try to get you to relinquish power through verbal intimidation. Jay Morrisey shares his anti-intimidation advice, which can easily apply if you find yourself in a contentious customer service situation.
This is when the instigator asks a question, and immediately cuts into your answer with the next question. The result of this technique is that the target does not have a chance to explain their answers at all, leaving them scared about what the next question may be… If someone tries cutting-in on your responses. Simply pause, then politely reply: I’ll answer your next question, when I’m done with this one.
AmEx used this on me back in my foolish years when I was behind on some credit card debt. The guy who called kept cutting me off and made me feel very small. I wished I had known how to slow down the line of attack at the time. What other verbal intimidation tactics have you experienced, and how do you fight back against them?
Free Money Finance shares a classic negotiation strategy. Ask for something you don’t care about along with the list of things you do care about. When the other party counteroffers, you can fold on the point you don’t care about while sticking to those you do. Then they feel like you’re meeting them in the middle.
You can find yourself hit with all sorts of crazy fees at closing time, some of them unnecessary or overinflated, says Bankrate. But how do you know what’s reasonable? For a fee, natch, of $45 the National Mortgage Complaint Center (866-714-6466) will examine your fees and see if they’re too high or out of the ordinary. You can also see how your fees compare with state averages.
Most consumers don’t realize that corporate contracts aren’t set in Jesus stone, but are negotiable documents. While we’ve heard of doing what the Corporateering site suggests when buying a new car…
3. Change a corporate contract. Corporations typically require individuals to sign long, standardized contracts that often have repugnant clauses, such as a waiver of the right to trial, in the fine print. Next time you are presented with such a contract, read it and cross out the objectionable provisions before you sign. No corporations can force you to sign a contract. Individuals have a right to negotiate that they rarely use.
..we wonder what would happen if you tried to do this the next time you bought a cellphone and plan at a store. At the very least it would be comical to see their heads explode. ADDENDUM: Both parties have to initial the changes to make it legally binding.
The New York Times is reporting that NBC will not renew its contract to provide content to Apple’s iTunes service. A spokesperson from NBC confirmed the decision after an anonymous source leaked it to the Times but did not comment on why NBC was dropping iTunes.
My brother went to a tattoo shop in Dallas and paid for a tattoo to be placed on his arm. He paid the shop $500. The artist designed and inked the tattoo. He told my brother that he would have to come back after it healed to have it filled in completely. So, when my brother went back to the shop, he was told that the artist who had worked on him was now living in Miami. My brother asked if anyone else could finish the shading and there was quite a few guys who volunteered, for an extra 400 dollars. You see, the shop said that they only rented the seat to the artist, and the contract was between my brother and the artist, not the shop. They felt no obligation at all to finish the job. What recourse does he have?
— CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER