With 2016 right around the corner, one of your New Year’s resolutions may be to start or adjust your personal or household budget. One budget item worth evaluating ASAP is your cable service.
If you’re not quite ready to shop for new cable service, try bargaining. If the thought of haggling with your provider makes you nervous, don’t worry. We have put together the best strategies for lowering your cable television bill and getting the most from your service. Use these tactics before deciding to switch your cable provider and see how much you can save.
Keep a Positive Attitude
Dealing with customer service departments often results in frustration, but staying calm and patient will get you better results. Don’t be rude to representatives. Instead, try to demonstrate your willingness to work with them to get a deal you can accept. The customer service department has some leeway in what they can offer customers, but those employees will be less likely to help if you are rude and argumentative. Give respect to the customer service employees if you want their help to get the best price.
If you don’t get what you want during the first call, try again. Sometimes, representatives have different levels of authority and someone else may be able to offer you a better deal.
Compare Other Offers in Your Area
To get the best deal on cable television service, you need leverage. Research all options in your area and what they offer to new customers. Regularly check to see what the latest incentives are for signing up with a new provider.
Researching the current offers in your area also lets you know what services are available to you. Although some cable providers have lower rates and better perks for new customers, they may not offer service in your area. Look at all available providers for your exact address to get an accurate idea of what you can expect from a cable service.
Decide What Is Important to You
Figure out what you want from your cable. Lower price is an important aspect for customers, but there are other incentives that can help sweeten the deal. Talk to the cable representatives about whether they can offer you a discount on DVR services or if they can include premium channels for free in your package. Once you have researched other offers in your area, be ready to bargain for the things that are most important to you.
When it comes to bargaining for a lower price on your bill, be cautious and take the time to research all offers. It may be tempting to accept a deal immediately, but it could cost you. A customer service representative may offer you a lower price that they say they can guarantee for a year. But what happens after the year is over? You could be signing up for a price increase so steep that you eventually pay more over a two-year period. Do the math before you accept a deal that seems too good to be true.
Know When to Threaten
Haggling almost always works for lowering your cable bill, but you need to be prepared to leave your service if you find a better deal. Threatening to cut ties with your current service is a good way to get your bill lowered or receive enticing offers, but if you are not really willing to leave, you lose your bargaining power. You should use this tactic only if you are prepared to walk away. If the customer service employee calls your bluff and you stay with the service, they will have no reason to bargain with you in the future. Understand when it’s time to leave and look for a better cable provider.
Research Possible Penalties
Check to see if there are penalties for leaving your provider early. Some cable companies require that you give notice a month or more in advance. Understand the fine print in the penalties to make sure you do not get stuck paying a high price for an additional period of time.
Many cable companies offer extra premium channels for a specific time period as an incentive. The cable providers are betting that you forget to cancel the extra service and end up paying full price without noticing. Set up regular reminders for yourself to call your cable company and discuss your service. Remember that when the promotional period ends, renegotiations are always an option. (This doesn’t work as well if you are stuck in a contract with a cancelation penalty fee.) While it can’t hurt to call more, it can cost you if you do not stay in contact with your cable provider.
Consider Bundled Services
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 changed the rules to allow phone and cable companies to compete and bundle services. Cable companies want you to buy bundle deals and take business away from potential competitors. Often, a home phone, Internet, and TV package will get you a much lower price than purchasing these services individually. If you use all three services, consider buying a bundled package from a cable provider. It could significantly reduce your bill and give you more bargaining power with your cable company.
Before you sign a contract with a new cable television provider, do your research and discover all of the available options for your area. Once you have the facts, you can provide concrete proof that you can get a better offer. Use these tips to lower your cable bill and get extra services from your cable provider.