There isn’t a single person I know who doesn’t hate dealing with their cable company. Whether it’s waiting an hour on hold to make a call for service, only to be told the next appointment is a week from Tuesday or arguing with customer service about the price of your bill, no one loves their cable company. No one.
Which is why I always suggest to people that they cut their ties to cable. You will be shocked at how little you miss it! Most people do just fine with a Roku and Netflix account or an antenna and Netflix. You could give it a try for 6 months. If you find that you really miss cable, you can always sign up again and usually at a substantial discount.
By the way, why DO cable companies offer great incentives for new customers but don’t seem to give two hoots about current ones? Well, that’s an article for another day.
Today, let’s talk about how you can successfully negotiate your bill if you aren’t ready to cut it out entirely.
Getting your cable bill adjusted has become such an art that there are actually people getting paid to do this for you, so you don’t spend hours on the phone. One such company, called Billfixer’s, offers some tips that can help you negotiate a cheaper cable bill if you are willing to do the work.
Know Before You Call
Before you pick up that phone, you need to already know the cheapest possible price for the package or service you want. Go online and pretend to be a new customer by using incognito mode in your browser. Check out what rates they are giving new customers in your area. If there are competitors, you should check out their rates as well.
Don’t Bother with Customer Service
Go directly to the cancellation department. Service agents there have a bit of authority to offer better deals to keep you as a customer. Tell them you want to cancel because your bill is too high.
Don’t Give Up
This is the frustrating part of the whole deal. It takes an average of 1 to 3 hours of negotiation to get the best deal. If you luck out, you can get a great deal after an hour of talking to just one person. Most times, however, it takes several calls or extended call times, where you get transferred to two or more persons. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, so don’t give up.
Don’t Get Mad
Yes, it is terribly frustrating to keep repeating the same story and being told different things over and over for hours on end, but getting angry means losing. In this case, you will get far more results with honey than vinegar. Be polite but be firm. No one wants to be yelled or cursed at. Since the person on the phone can give you what you want, it makes sense to stay calm and be nice.
Don’t Fall for Freebies
Many cable companies try to appease you by offering you free premium channels, but these are generally short term and not as valuable as a cut in your bill. Tell them you would be willing to accept an upgrade in internet speeds but you really arent’ interested in any short-term freebies.
Ask for More
Even if you get someone to agree to give you what you want for your price, don’t be afraid to politely ask if they could offer you a one-time credit or something for all the time you have spent on the phone. Be very polite and tell them how much you appreciate them working with you. You would be surprised at what agents can offer you when they feel appreciated for their job.
ALWAYS Verify What You Were Offered
Never take an agent’s word that they are going to do what they promised. Ask for an email confirming your new terms. Write everything down, including the name or number of the agent, the time you called, exactly what they agreed to, etc. Wait about 24 hours, then call back and see if your new terms are on your account.