The best things in life are free, but unfortunately, your cable and internet are not. Don’t fret, though. Even if those bills still come around every month, there are ways to lower your costs and it starts during your very first phone call to set up services.
“While paying bills is a fact of life, you shouldn’t spend money unnecessarily on cable or internet access,” said Amanda Dixon, senior reporter at Bankrate.com. “It’s worth it to see if you can lower your monthly payments and use the money you save to pay down debt or pad your savings account.”
Negotiating with your cable company or internet service provider is one of the best ways to lower your overall costs. We spoke with one of our Allconnect® expert sales agents to find out what is and isn’t negotiable so you know exactly what to say on the phone.
Why should you negotiate your bill?
Just because a particular price is listed doesn’t mean it’s set in stone. Additionally, there may be other incentives, like free installation, you can take advantage of that might not lower your monthly cable bill but could save you on upfront costs.
The agent is there to help you find cable and internet options that fit your needs and your budget, said Chris Chen, a sales professional with seven years of experience in our Miami, FL, and Charlotte, NC, offices.
“We’ll let you know beforehand if an offer is the lowest possible price, but we’ll also go through and check if there are any other promotions,” he said.
Aside from a lower rate, haggling and negotiating your bills is a great way to keep from wasting money that could be used for other expenses or meeting your financial goals, such as saving for a new home, Dixon said.
“It never hurts to try and haggle your way into getting a better deal,” she said. “Of course, you shouldn’t negotiate if you haven’t done your research on what competitors are offering or you’re not prepared to make your case for why you should be paying less.”
Tips for negotiating your cable and internet bill
Once you’re on the phone, here are some tips for negotiating for a lower cable bill:
- Be friendly – While it may be tempting to start the call with gusto and an attitude, being friendly and building a rapport with the sales agent can go a long way.
- Know your current level of service – Take stock of what you’re currently getting as well as what you like and don’t like about your current service to use as a bargaining chip.
- Do some preliminary research – It doesn’t hurt to have an idea of what your options are, how many devices you have, or what channels you watch. This can help the agent find the best plan. Also, since our agents work with 30+ providers, they can do a lot of research for you.
- Don’t accept the first offer – Even if the first offer fits within your budget, keep digging a little deeper. You may find that you can save even more or get other incentives.
- Ask about hidden fees – When it comes to the price of your plan, there’s the base price and then all of the hidden fees, such as installation, equipment, activation and more. Ask about them to ensure the plan fits in your budget. Then, find out if the fees are negotiable.
- Don’t be afraid to ask – When in doubt, ask! Feel free to say to the agent “Is that the best you can do?” or “Are there any other incentives or promotions?” You never know what other offers might be available.
- Keep your options open – If you go in with your mind set on one specific plan, you may miss out on something else that’s a better fit or price. Ask the agent about all possible options.
So, what is negotiable on your cable and internet bill?
Aside from price, there may be other promotions or incentives you can take advantage of to help lower overall costs. These include:
- Free installation
- Free equipment
- Free activation
- Free speed upgrades
- Free channel upgrades
- Free Netflix for a year
- Visa gift card rewards
- Priority installation
In the end, it doesn’t hurt to ask about anything that could possibly help you lower your cable bill and/or internet bill. As Chen pointed out, the sales agent is there to be your consultant and help you out.
Things to consider while you’re on the phone
Aside from the tips above, there are some other things to keep in mind when shopping for a cable or internet plan. Chen recommends the following:
Do a family survey first
Before you jump on the phone, survey your household on how you use the internet, what channels are your favorites, how many devices you need to connect, etc. This can help the agent find the right plan to meet your needs and your budget, Chen said.
“Have all the information from everyone in the family ready, such as what channels does your husband like to watch,” he said. “I can make sure that the package options you’re considering have those channels.”
Weigh value over price
He also emphasized that negotiating your bill sometimes isn’t just about the price, but the value of the services you’re getting. A lower price typically means lower internet speeds.
“Customers are a lot more educated and they need higher speeds nowadays because technology is advancing and they’re doing more things in their home,” Chen said. “We’re trying to find you great quality service at the best possible price. But if you want higher speeds, you’ll have to pay a higher price.”
Ask if priority installation or other perks are available
Even if you can’t save money, you may be able to get other promotions, such as priority installation. With priority installation, you can usually get things set up and running within a few days, not a few weeks.
“Keep in mind that installation can take anywhere from a week or two from the date of setup,” Chen said. “Most of our customers are moving in the next one to three days, though, so they usually want it quickly.”
There may be other perks, such as free Netflix for a year or a $100 rewards card, available as well, he said.
Have a card ready, just in case
While you may be a master negotiating after reading this article, there are some things that may not be up for negotiating, such as activation fees. You’ll always want to have a card ready, just in case there are upfront costs.
Trust the process and take your time
A lot of customers try to get through the phone call in five minutes, but if you set aside some time (Chen recommends about 30 minutes) you’ll have a better experience.
“We’ll do all the research for you but keep an open mind and trust our process that we’re going to give you the best options in your area with accurate pricing — we’re not going to hold anything back,” he said.
What if negotiations don’t work?
If you’ve exhausted all options during negotiations and still aren’t happy with the results, it may be time to try other options to save money.
“If negotiating falls flat, consider ditching the cable and signing up for a streaming service like Hulu or Netflix. You can also save money by getting an HD antenna or a cable replacement service like Sling TV,” Dixon said.
Ready for a lower cable bill? Primed for a better internet deal? Call our sales agents today to get started negotiating a lower cable and internet rate!