Shopping for cable TV should be a lot like shopping for any other big-ticket item. It’s unlikely that you’d head into the car dealership and nab the first model you laid eyes on, right? Well, the same goes for subscribing to a cable provider. The best cable TV deals are there for those willing to work for them. Comparison shopping and some smooth negotiations can result in your paying thousands less over the course of your cable contract. By doing your homework, you can get the best deals and still get the best service, channels, and entertainment piped straight to your home.
Cable companies are always looking for new contracts, so there’s a good chance you get ads and circulars in your mailbox from time to time. Use those as a catalyst for comparison shopping your way through your options. Which cable providers can provide access to your home? Which have the best deals for new customers and which ones have the shortest promo periods? Do your homework so when it comes time to contact the providers, you’re already educated on what’s available — and what their competition has in store as well.
Try Different Contacts
Try this brilliant tip, uncovered by The Consumerist: try contacting a cable provider in a few different ways. The prices shown on the company’s website might be different than those offered via telephone or even on their online chat option. Try all three options to weight out which contact method gets the best deal so you can make the best choice. You might find that the call center rates are much lower than whatever’s advertised on the website, especially when you start talking about a competitor’s offer or the rates sent to you via ad mail.
Ask About Bundling
Some companies offer bundling with other services, like cable and phone. While it’s not always the right choice for every situation, it can help save money if you’re smart about it. Whip out your calculator and start adding up the costs to see if bundling is worth it to you. If you already have a low-cost Internet provider, it might not make sense to make the switch and pay more, even if it gives you a discount on your cable bill. If you’re paying a similar amount, however, you can bundle up to simplify billing and score a killer deal.
When you’re on the phone with the customer care center, it’s time to use your leverage as a shopping, as-yet-uncontracted customer. Don’t take the first offer you’re presented with: It’s usually a base rate with little in the way of extras. If you hem and haw a little and mention that you noticed a better offer through another provider, you’ll probably get a better deal and enjoy perks like premium channels and equipment. Just make sure you understand when subscriptions and equipment rental credits expire so you don’t wind up paying for stuff you didn’t want.
It’s important that when searching for cable TV deals you remain calm on the phone. Call up with too much swagger, and you could turn a potential friend in customer service to a complete enemy. Instead, the smartest consumer is an educated one who doesn’t mind wheeling and dealing his way to the best contract possible.
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