Thursday, March 14, 2013

18 Techniques to Save Tons of Money on Your Cable Bill

The average cable bill in the United States is $86 a month. According to the NPD Group, by 2020 the average monthly cable bill is expected to reach $200 although some subscribers are paying that now. On average, cable bills increase 6% each year supposedly because it is more expensive for cable companies to license programming.  In addition, DVD sales have decreased so content providers are charging more for their cable programming.

Other countries charge much less for phone, cable and internet service. In his new book, The Fine Print: How Big Companies Use 'Plain English' to Rob You Blind by David Cay Johnston highlights these surprising facts: Americans pay 4 times as much as the French for an internet triple-play package -phone, cable and Internet, an average of $160 per month versus $38 per month; the French get global free calling and worldwide live television and their internet is 10 times faster at downloading information and 20 times faster uploading; America has gone from #1 in internet speed to 29th in the world and continues to fall;  Bulgaria is among the countries with faster internet service and Americans pay 38 times as much as the Japanese for internet data.

Americans have been bamboozled into believing that having more competition would lower their phone bill but unfortunately their bills have increased.  In many instances cable subscribers don't take full advantage of packages or purchase packages that contain channels they do not want or watch for the sake of getting the channels they do want.

The biggest misleading package deal was been the triple-play steering subscribers to believe signing up for triple-play will save them money.  Unfortunately, in some instances subscribers have actually had to spend more money and still aren’t happy with the services they receive.

Another deal that was offered to subscribers by Comcast was the OnDemand feature which allows cable subscribers to stream the channels they are already paying for through mobile applications at no additional cost. Customers were led to believe this was an added feature but it was already included in their cable service.

1.      Ask. Ask if your bill can be reduced. If you are unable to get it lowered, ask for the cancelation department.
2.      Tell. Tell the company your current financial situation and ask about any free promotions.
3.      Refer to the competition. Refer to specials and discounts offered by competitors.
4.      Research. Do research on discounts and promotions the company may be offering through advertisements or on their website.
5.      Look for loopholes. Try negotiating a lower bill by talking to an online representative through chat. 
6.      Don’t make the first move. Let the company start negotiations and then decide if you will accept the offer or if you want to negotiate further.
7.      The basics. Get the cheapest plan possible; eliminate all premium channels, extra features such as DVR, HD service, sports packages, pay per view channels, etc.
8.      Check back often. Companies offer at least 10-20% discounts on pricing, coupons or specials that are not advertised.  Call every 3-6 months and ask about discounts.  Discounts usually last 6 months to 1 year.
9.      Use Wi-Fi. If you have Internet and Wi-Fi at home sign up for video services.
10.   Service. If you are not happy with the quality of service you are receiving inform the company. If you have paid your bills on time remind them of that as well. Let them know you would like to remain a customer but cannot afford the current pricing.
11.   Price Lock. Ask the company if they offer price locks. This will help you keep the price for at least 6 months to 2 years.
12.   Loyalty. Remind them how long you have been a customer and that you are considering switching to another company. 
13.   Bundle. If you have multiple services with the different companies bundle services which may save you money such as cable, phone and internet.
14.   Alternatives. Rent movies from Netflix, Redbox or the library. Use services such as Hulu or streaming services such as Zatto, SurftheChannel, Fancast, Hitbliss or streaming from TV stations such as ABC, CBS, NBC or Fox.
15.   What you need. Pay for only what you need or use. Don’t pay for more internet, cable or phone features than you use.  Review your statement every 3 months to see if you can reduce features to save money.
16.   Switch. Switch to another provider to save money.
17.   TV. Eliminate televisions in every room with a separate cable box.  Keep televisions with a cable box in common room areas only such as the living room, family room and basement to save money.
18.   Cancel. Cancel your cable and internet service. Access internet using Wi-Fi at public facilities or use the library.

No comments: