How to get cable – Speak to the right people for the real deals

Whether you already have existing cable TV and Internet or are setting up new service, here’s how to get cable at a deep discount.

how-to-get-cableHow to Get Cable – Advanced Preparation

  • Research other TV and Internet providers like satellite and phone companies to find out what promotions they are offering.  When you negotiate with a cable company you can use their competitors’ offers as leverage.  Take specific notes on any discounts you find so you can refer to them later.
  • Decide what type of promotion(s) to target.  It’s good to know which types of discounts are potentially negotiable before you call your cable company.  Here are some common promos available for customer service reps to give out:
    • Waived installation or wiring fees
    • Waived activation fees
    • Free equipment such as cable modems or routers
    • Discounted set-top box rentals such as $5 off per month on an HD DVR
    • 3 months of free “HBO + Cinemax” or “Showtime + Starz”
    • Free “On-Demand” movies (not unlimited, but you may get a couple movies)
    • Higher tiers of TV service at discounted prices
    • Increased Internet speed at a discounted price
    • Free digital phone extras (like 3-way calling, call waiting, call forwarding, etc.)

How to Get Cable – Speak to the Right People

  • If you are a new customer you’ll qualify for the best deals with most customer service reps. Cable companies budget a high acquisition cost for new customers and are prepared to offer them the best deals so they can make money in the long run.  When you identify yourself as a new customer you’ll already be talking to the right people so there is no need to escalate.
  • If you are an existing customer, don’t bother with customer service.  Immediately ask to cancel your service.  Don’t worry, you will never have your service cancelled immediately by saying you want to cancel.  You will always have ample opportunity to back down from your threat. 

    When you do ask to cancel, your call will be transferred to a specific group of customer service reps called the Retention department.  These are the folks that try to keep you from cancelling your service.  The Retention department is authorized to use a variety of incentives and promotions that are unadvertised and unavailable to normal customer service reps.  Once you reach this department, that’s when you can really negotiate.

How to Get Cable – What to say to get the best discounts and deals

When speaking with customer service people, always be respectful and kind, never let your emotions get the better of you.  You’ll get more flies with honey.  Avoid taking the approach that they offer bad service and you’re angry with how they treat you.  This will antagonize the customer service rep.  You want them to be on your side and working for you.  The important thing to emphasize is that their service is too expensive and you can’t afford it. 

Here are a few other things to mention when negotiating:

  • If their competitors are offering better deals, bring up specifics…especially if you are a new customer.  Most cable companies will try to match or beat their competitors' offers.
  • If you’ve been a customer for longer than a year, mention how long and play the loyalty card. 
  • If you were previously a customer at another address and are setting up service in a new home, again, play the loyalty card.
  • If you’ve paid your bills consistently on time, mention it.

And once you’re done negotiating, here a few more tips to reduce your cable bill:

  • Try bundling multiple services like TV, Internet, Phone, and Cell services.  Typically, the more you bundle the more you save.
  • Set your bill on auto-draft and go paperless.  Some cable companies offer discounts for this.
  • Purchase your cable modem instead of paying rental fees
  • Don’t get more cable boxes than you’ll actually use.  Just because you have a TV in every room doesn’t mean you’ll end up watching them all.  If a single set-top box costs you $5/month, that ends up being $60/year.  If you have two or three extra boxes you don’t use you’ll pay a couple hundred bucks more per year than you have to!

For a few more tips check out Negotiating with Comcast for Triple Play.

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