3 Steps to Slash Your Internet and Pay-TV Rates

This is a guest post by Richard Syrop. He is founder of the bill reduction website EffortlessSavings.com. You can take a look at his new book and follow him on Twitter.

If you are one of the millions of consumers paying for TV and Internet service from a major telecom provider, you may be able to reduce your rates by up to 30 percent. Below are three simple steps that should help you save money without making any changes to your existing service. These suggestions are most effective if you are not in a service contract, or when you use them shortly before your contract expires.

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Step 1: Compare Rates from Other Companies

Regardless of where you live, there should be at least three companies in your local area that offer Internet and Pay-TV service. These companies may include Comcast, Time Warner, Dish and or DirecTV. 

Take a few minutes to review each of their promotional offers and write down the best you find that is comparable to your current service package.

Step 2: Talk to the Revenue Retention Team

All major telecom providers have what is known as a revenue retention team. This team is dedicated to retaining customers who want to cancel their service. 

To convince customers not to cancel their service, the revenue retention team is typically able to offer specially discounted rates. However, you can’t just call your service provider and ask to speak to the revenue retention team. You need to call them and tell the representative that you want to cancel your service. 

Think of this request as nothing more than a poker face in a game of cards. If the representative asks why you want to cancel your service, tell him or her that you have received a better offer from a competitor and that you are short on time so you’d really like to move forward with the cancellation process. 

Even if the representative offers you a slightly better rate, decline their offer. Once the representative transfers your call, you will know you are being rerouted to the revenue retention team. 

During this process, keep in mind that your service will never actually be canceled unless you provide the representative with a cancellation date. 

If, at any point during this call, you get cold feet, find an excuse to get off the phone and call back later.

Step 3: Renegotiate Your Rates

Once the retention team member asks you a series of initial questions, he or she will ask why you are canceling your service. At this point, present the best offer you found when researching competitors’ rates, and let the rep know that you are canceling your service strictly to reduce your monthly bill. 

More than likely, the retention team member will respond to this by offering you some type of free service upgrade, such as faster Internet speed. Politely decline this offer, and tell the representative that you are strictly interested in lower rates and would like to move forward with the cancellation process. This will generally force his or her hand and lead to an offer that significantly lowers your monthly payment. 

Typically, the deal offered to you will be a six-month or one-year introductory or promotional package. However, as long as it does not include a contract, you should be able to maintain similar rates by repeating this process right before it expires.

All things considered, making this phone call every six or twelve months is a nice trade-off for hundreds of dollars you can potentially save each year.

Question: Have you ever called your service providers to ask for a lower rate? How did that turn out? You can respond using the comments feature below.

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30 replies
  1. Myrna
    Myrna says:

    Am a DirecTV customer, was paying $85.00 a month. Got Dish TV offers, called DTV and asked what they would do to keep me from switching (the LAST thing we want to do is use Dish!) Told them we wanted NO premium channels, DVR or anything just the programming we had. They reduced the bill to 60.00 for a year, includes insurance (which we have needed in the past)

    Reply
  2. skizzatt
    skizzatt says:

    I tried that with Mediacom and had no luck. They never transferred to a retention specialist. What do I do in a case like that?

    Reply
    • Richard Syrop
      Richard Syrop says:

      Hi Skizzatt,
      Unfortunately a company like Mediacom probably does not have a revenue retention team, as they tend to strictly services smaller cities and towns. However, you can always try haggling a bit with the operator, but since they are a relatively small company they might not budge.

      Reply
  3. Ann
    Ann says:

    I have TWC basic cable and i-net for a total of about $75-80/mo …seems high.. TWC keeps advertising
    $14.99, for i-net, no bundles, no contract, and that it’s not a promo rate. I wonder what the gimmick is. Give ME that! BTW, you can get a
    lot of movies and tv shows on DVD at the library for free.

    Reply
    • Richard Syrop
      Richard Syrop says:

      Hi Ann,
      Are you presently in a contract with TWC? If not, in this case you may want to try to use their own rates against them. There is no reason why a new customer should get a cheater rate then a long term customer like yourself. If you discuss this with them hopfuuly they will immediately reduce your monthly bill. If they don’t, I would suggest trying what “NF” mentioned below.

      Reply
  4. abeachandabook
    abeachandabook says:

    Last year FIOS came to our area and EVERYONE in the neighborhood was switching. Truth is I’ve been very happy with our bundle-packaged service provider, but the bill kept steadily increasing. I called them and asked directly if there was anything they could do to lower the price. I told them exactly what FIOS was offering and for how much. In minutes, they lowered the price by $60.00 a month and only took away the “free” Showtime we had been getting. A year later, the bill went up. I called again and they set me back at the old price plus an additional 10.00. No complaints! Our bill is still 50.00 lower a month than it was years ago.

    Reply
    • Richard Syrop
      Richard Syrop says:

      Hi abeachandabook,
      Well done! As you mentioned, often your bill will increase by $10 or so a year, but that still pretty damn good compared to the rates you would be paying had you not called them. $600 a year in savings is not bad form any angle!

      Reply
  5. Jodie Hodges
    Jodie Hodges says:

    I pretty much did the same thing as “PH” below. We had Direct TV for 4 years once we moved to Texas. When our monthly bill got to $90.00 I said enough–we didn’t even have any special channels. I called and cancelled. We took that monthly amount and invested in our Roku box and love it. We tried Hulu but didn’t like it. We signed up for Netflix at $8.65 per month and enjoy it. If I have something special I want to see I rent it from Red Box for $1.30. I am saving a lot of money and am no longer a television junkie. I come home and change clothes and head to the gym now…Then if I want to watch t.v. later, I do but not for very long. It is definitely a lifestyle change that has many benefits!

    Reply
    • Richard Syrop
      Richard Syrop says:

      Hi Jodie,
      Yes, for those who are not attached to a particular channel this is the best option to save money. Also, as you rightly mentioned it encourages a positive lifestyle change.

      Reply
  6. PH
    PH says:

    A bit over a year ago, we went from budled home phone, internet, and basic cable (no premium channels and we had been calling calling every year to get a better intro rate on, but even the “Deal rate” of $150 a month seemed too high to me) to only high speed internet. We bought a Roku box and subscribe to Netflix (for a while we also did Hulu Plus but rarely used it so we recently cancelled).
    Our TV watching had been dwindling anyhow – there are better ways to spend your precious time! Hardly ever used the home phone since we have cell phones, so we don’t even miss it. Our internet bill is supposed to be $60 a month but we talked that down to $48 a month for a year (and will be looking for a deal next year too). So we’re saving right around $100 a month, using the deal rates as the basis – people paying full price could save so much more.

    Reply
    • Richard Syrop
      Richard Syrop says:

      Hi PH,
      This is a great option for those who are not attached to specific channels like The Food Network, ESPN, HBO etc. Also, as you rightly mentioned there are better ways to speed our time than sitting in front of the TV!

      Reply
      • PH
        PH says:

        I used to enjoy certain shows/channels as well. But I enjoy not being under the financial burden of cable TV a lot more! Your life will not be diminished if you don’t know who the next Iron Chef is or what The Sopranos are and there are options for watching sports on-line if you can’t live without them.
        Plenty of people need to re-evaluate how they’re spending their time and what brings more joy to their lives… For most of us, it isn’t sitting in front of the “boob tube” (I’m showing my age now!).

  7. LinnieM
    LinnieM says:

    We called last fall and eventually got our cable & internet provider to match a competitor’s price, saving us $30 per month

    Reply
    • Richard Syrop
      Richard Syrop says:

      Hi LinnieM,
      Did you have to call a few times in order to get them to do this? Sometime if you get a representative on the phone that won’t help you the first time around, the best thing to do is call back in a few days and repeat this process with another representative who will hopefully be more willing to play ball.

      Reply
  8. Sandra
    Sandra says:

    After being with the same sat company for more than 13 years and in trying to work with “customer retention”, I cancelled sat t.v. totally. The $10 a month they offered was an insult. I was paying 3 times as much $ and getting 1/3 as much programming as I was 10 years ago. And, was watching fewer than 6 channels; it was $1K a year I could spend on a Caribbean airline ticket. Now, I watch DVD’s of programs I want to watch and don’t miss sat t.v. at all which was mostly filth anyway.
    I refuse to bundle; the small amount of money that might be saved, is not worth the headache of being dependent upon one mega-corporation.
    When I move, I’ll look into i-net service and make a decision then.

    Reply
    • Richard Syrop
      Richard Syrop says:

      Hi Sandra,
      You may have been able to get a much deeper discount than $10 per month if you tried calling back a few days later and taking with another representative. However, if you are not missing Pay-TV, it sounds like on top of saving yourself a small fortune you also made a very positive lifestyle change!

      Reply
  9. Shey
    Shey says:

    I’ve also done this, and once it worked, once it didn’t. The second time. I tried, the revenue retention team member told me that he didn’t think I could do any better, and he invited me to go ahead and cancel. Really, his attitude made me want to cancel on the spot.

    Reply
    • Richard Syrop
      Richard Syrop says:

      Hi Shey,
      Have you tried calling back a few days later? Sometimes if you get someone on the phone who is unwilling to help you, the best thing to do is find an excuses to get off the phone then repeat this process with another representative in a couple of days. Otherwise, your best option may be to cancel your service for a day (as “NF” mentioned below) and resign up a day or two later to get their promotional rates.

      Reply
  10. NF
    NF says:

    I have comcast bundled services. when my 1 yr deal expired, my cable bill shot up to 200.00 a month. outrageous. I called and called, trying to work out a new deal, but comcast(almost a monopoly in my area) refused to budge. I didn’t want a dish as our volatile weather tends to interrupt the signal. Two things worked for me, a little complicated but it knocked about 50 bucks a month off my bill. I cancelled my service, in full, for a day(cost me nothing to do this, I just had to return the cable box to a satellite branch up the street). I signed up again the next day for all three services, 1 yr promotional price. When that ran out, I cancelled the service in my name for a day and signed up again in my husband’s name, same deal, price remained the same. Not necessarily ethical, but neither is the cable companies pricing tiers. So far, two years later, pricing has stayed the same with no negotiations. I also signed up for their eco-bill which saves me $5 a month for paperless billing.
    I do like comcast services and really do not want to change anything I have. I don’t know how I’ll work around the next round of price increases, but I’ll figure out something.

    Reply
    • Richard Syrop
      Richard Syrop says:

      Hi NF,
      WOW! That’s what I call thinking outside the box! In areas where one telecom company has a monopoly, renegotiating your rates can be much harder, but it sounds like you found a great way to still reduce them without compromising your service! You can also reduce your bill by $5-$10 (if you haven’t already) by buying your own modem instead of renting one from them. This will cost you a bit of money up front, but you will make that back in no time and reap the benefits for years to come.

      Reply
      • NF
        NF says:

        @Richard. Already did that after they told me I couldn’t buy a modem. Saves me about 8 bucks a month. They keep trying to tell me my modem is outdated, but for our uses it works just fine. If ur handy, u can also connect a lot of ur other tv’s urself, saving a huge amount on installation. My husband made very close friends with a salamander in our crawlspace while doing this. I also tried just having internet and cable tv, but the price was actually higher for 2 services versus all three. I personally would go to basic cable, but someone here REALLY likes nascar and all Fox News channels.

  11. joe
    joe says:

    Yes I have done exactly what you said and it does work. The other thing to remember is if you are in a contracted time period and your rate is going to go up You need to call about a month before the end of the time period. Or else you will be paying for a partial month at the higher rate. So don’t wait until the last day of the contract to call. This does work but you have to be prepared to say no thanks and force the issue of cancelling.

    Reply
    • Richard Syrop
      Richard Syrop says:

      Hi Joe,
      Great point! However, if you forget to call before your rates change, you can usually get your telecom provider to apply the promotional rates to your current billing cycle without paying any extra charges or fees. You may just have to ask them at the end of the negotiation to prorate your charges back a few days. I had to do this once when I forgot to call them until after my rates jumped up.

      Reply
  12. Maria Stahl
    Maria Stahl says:

    Yes, but without all the deceit and messing around. I just called and asked the rep if they could do any better and they knocked my rate back down to the intro rate on the spot.

    Reply
    • Richard Syrop
      Richard Syrop says:

      Hi Maria,
      This is naturally the best option, but many times a little haggling is required. It all depends on how much competition is in the area in which you live, the company you are calling, and the representative you get on the phone. However, it sounds like you got to have your cake and eat it too:)

      Reply
  13. lovestosave526
    lovestosave526 says:

    Did this myself last year with Cablevision. Although we we added a premium channel (we wanted Game Show Network & had to get the Sports Package for that), our service was lowered for a year. I will be calling again soon.

    Reply
    • Richard Syrop
      Richard Syrop says:

      Hi lovestosave526,
      If you can find a service package from a competitor that offers a sports package for free for six or twelve months you can use that as leverage to try to get Cablevision to give it to you for free for a similar time frame. I have successfully done this with both HBO and Showtime, and as a result have not paid for either of them for over a year and a half:)

      Reply
  14. marysews
    marysews says:

    We have AT&T (not shown in the list above) because my husband needs the speed (as a webmaster) – and it is the highest speed we’ve ever had. They are not necessarily the cheapest, although we did get the price knocked down a bit by getting the highest plan. Weird, I know.

    Reply
    • Richard Syrop
      Richard Syrop says:

      Hi Marysews,
      I’m glad you still found a way to get your rates down a bit. However, even though competitors may not have as fast of an internet speed as AT&T in your area, you may want to still try renegotiating your rates by using a service package that also has a high speed internet connection. After all AT&T has no idea that you require a speed that only they offer. That being said, typically AT&T and Verizon are the hardest companies to renegotiate Pay-TV and internet rates with.

      Reply

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