After seeing the success of fellow bloggers with lowering their cable bills (particularly this inspiring account from Darwin’s Finance), I decided it was finally time to take matters into my own hands and try the same thing.
Let me set the stage for you:
For the last 3-4 years, we’ve paid about $110 a month for basic non-HD cable and Internet service. That’s the standard full rate from Comcast in our area.
About 2 years ago, we purchased a small HD TV to replace an aging set that weighed about 300 pounds and was a pain to operate. Because we were on “digital” cable (with the digital box, rather than hooked up to the wall jack directly), we weren’t able to take advantage of any HD channels.
(For those who don’t know, all the standard channels–ABC, NBC, CBS, etc. are available in 1080p HD if you plug your HD TV into your cable outlet directly–you do not need HD cable service to get them!). But I digress…
My wife has wanted a DVR (digital video recorder) for a long time. She watches a couple of shows religiously during the week, and it’s always a hassle to have to be home “on time” and do nothing but stay glued to the TV between 8 PM and 9 PM (or whenever the show happens to be on). So I’ve wanted one for a long time, too. :)
All things considered, I had three goals in mind for my chat with Comcast:
- Get my bill lowered to a more competitive rate.
- Get HD service.
- Get a DVR box.
It was ambitious, but I was up for the challenge. I took advantage of the Comcast “online chat” support so I could think about my questions and answers carefully (and because I really don’t like dealing with customer service on the phone).
The whole conversation really hinged on two main points that I made (I’ve bolded them below). The other 30 lines of text included “One moment please,” and other things I’ve summarized.
After account verification, I kicked off the chat with this little mission statement for my rep:
“I would like to do two things today: I am interested in getting HD and DVR service at my home. However, I lost my job a few months ago*, and really can’t afford to pay any more than $100 a month. Are there any promotions available that we could take advantage of?”
*I wasn’t fibbing. My wife really did lose her job last July. That set the stage for exactly what I wanted, why I wanted it, and specifically what I was asking the rep to do.
A couple of minutes later, the rep came back with an offer to add HD and DVR service at a special promotional rate. My total bill was going to be over $130, and I wasn’t ready to go there. So I pushed further.
“Thanks, but I’m afraid that won’t work for us. I really need to get my bill under $100 per month, or I will have to start looking at other options. I have to admit, satellite TV services are becoming very competitive against your prices. Are you sure there are no other promotions available?”
Yeah, I went there. In not so many words, I made it crystal clear that I was willing to start looking elsewhere for services if my needs weren’t met.
My point was understood. Magically, another promotion appeared that sliced my Internet bill by more than 50%, on top of the new promotional rate for HD service.
Before I left the chat, I made sure that I verified the total price I would be paying for all the services combined. Everything totaled just under $95. With taxes and the remaining junk, we’re going to end up paying about $5 per month less than we were for the last 3 years.
By the following afternoon, I had an HD DVR box sitting at home, and set up to rock.
The “promotional rate” runs for the next 12 months (I was pleasantly surprised, since it’s usually a 6-month deal). What will happen after a year? Well, if the experience of Darwin’s Finance is any indication, I will be able to at least keep the deal going, if not push the issue even further.
I encourage you to take advantage of a competitive economy, and negotiate your subscription rates for cable and any other services you have!
Have you lowered a bill recently? Tell me about your experience!
Photo by mollybob