Easy Steps to Negotiating a Lower Cable Bill

Date: September 8, 2016

As more people decide to "cut the cord," and leave cable for various streaming options, cable companies are realizing they no longer have a monopoly on entertainment. Now with more competition, cable customers have some bargaining power when it comes to reducing their bill so companies keep their service.

 

Cable Bill Cuts

It's entirely possible to get your cable company to provide you with the same package at a lower rate than you're currently paying, but don't expect them to approach you about it. Cable companies advertise a rate and hope that people agree to it and sign up for their services. You're likely to get a better deal if you have the confidence to ask for it.

 

Bundling Buys You Leverage

Why would cable providers be willing to bargain down their rates? The one-word answer to that is bundling. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 altered the rules regulating the cable company marketplace. It permits phone companies to compete with cable companies, authorizing both types of providers to "bundle" phone, cable and Internet services. More companies are competing for your business as a result — not just for basic cable, but the entire bundle of services. This gives you increased leverage.

 

Be Prepared

Don't pick up the phone without first lining up your facts. You'll need information at your fingertips, both about your account and about the competition. Figure out the history of your account — how long you've been with the company, how much you pay and what you get for your money. Determine what the competition offers by calling around or asking friends. Only then, with paper and pen in hand, should you call the customer service department of your cable company.

 

Ask for a Better Deal

Tell the customer service agent the situation right up front: You're calling to make changes to your service because you can't afford your current payment. Then mention the better deal your friend has, or the special a competitor is offering. Walk the agent through your account history, then repeat that you can no longer afford the rates and ask if there's anything the agent can do to help. If the offer he or she makes isn't low enough, ask to be transferred to the disconnect department and repeat the process. There are no guarantees, but you might just end up with a lower cable bill.

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