Cable fees are expensive. Our entertainment isn’t free.
It turns out that cable companies are willing to negotiate. This is the thesis of an article in the Wall Street Journal.
We read this:
Every three to six months, when his most recent promotional deal expires, Carey Anthony blocks out an hour of his day to negotiate with his cable company. Each time, the president of a software company in Los Angeles says he can knock $20 to $30 off his monthly bill.
“Negotiating works every time,” says Mr. Anthony, 46, who estimates he has saved more than $350 a year over the past decade. “Sometimes you have to threaten to cancel service, or switch to another provider, or sit on hold for an hour, but I’ve never failed to get a discount,” he says. “You just have to be diligent.”
I don’t quite get this. If the average subscriber pays $128 a month, as the article says, in three sessions, the guy is down to free service. I am missing something. Or else the author was.
Here’s the real deal. He signs up for discount specials with time limits. When they run out, he does it again.
There is price competition, if you know where to look and how to negotiate.
Some cable operators and DirecTV also offer a family packages, which usually cost $30 to $40, and give households all the broadcast channels as well limited cable channels such as the Disney Channel and Food Network.
Other subscribers are dumping bulky packages of 190 channels or more in favor of the most basic service—often known as the “Lifeline” tier in the industry. These usually include public broadcast stations and the handful of over-the-air channels, and usually cost $13 to $16, compared to the $40 to $60 it usually costs to get the more widely-distributed level of digital cable service, which includes ESPN, MTV, TNT and other basic cable channels.
It turns out that a little-known federal law allows customers to get HBO or showtime for $17 a month, even if they have the cheapest package.
My advice: do not do it. The real cost of TV is lost time. You can put this time to productive uses.
To get the new deals, you must call every six months. Threaten to cancel. You will be transferred to a negotiator.
The article says to give up the DVR. Don’t. The DVR lets you schedule the recordings, and you watch when you have free time. You fast-forward through the ads. I can think of no better way to save valuable time. Always get the DVR.
Set a reminder for when the six-month deal you signed up for expires. Re-negotiate.
There are other tips. Read the entire article.