The cost of Internet, Pay-TV and home phone service is on the rise. Despite this being the number one complaint that cable companies experience, most consumers do little more than grumble about their bills. If you fall into this group, now is a great time to take action. The suggestions below should help you maintain the services you have now, while significantly lowering your monthly payments.
Renegotiate Your Rates
If you are getting Internet, Pay-TV and/or home phone service from one company, calling your provider to renegotiate your rates is the easiest way to lower your monthly bill. In fact, by making this phone call you may be able to reduce your rates by up to 30% without compromising your Internet speed or parting with any of your favorite channels.
Before calling your service provider to discuss cheaper rates, it’s a good idea to do a little bit of research. Regardless of where you live in the country, there should be at least three or four companies that offer double and triple play service packages (Internet, Pay-TV and/or home phone service). After identifying the companies, review their current introductory and promotional offers and write down the details of the best one you can find that is comparable to your current service plan.
Once you have this information in hand, give your service provider a call. However, you want to avoid renegotiating your rates with the operator. While the operator may be able to offer you a slight price break, they typically are not authorized to hand out sizable discounts. In order to get the deepest discounts possible, you will need to talk to the revenue retention team. This team is strictly dedicated to trying to retain customers who are dissatisfied with their service and want to cancel it. To help sway customers from canceling their service, retention team members are able to offer you special promotional rates that you would otherwise not have access to.
In order to speak to this division, select the phone prompt related to downgrading or canceling your service. If this option is not available, talk to the operator and tell him or her that you want to cancel your service. Keep in mind that this statement is nothing more than a bluff and your service will never actually be cancelled unless you give your service provider a cancellation date. If the operator asks why you want to cancel your service, tell him or her that you have received a better offer from a competitor and that you are short on time and would like to move forward with the cancellation process. Once the representative transfers your call, you will know you are being rerouted to the revenue retention team.
After the retention team member asks you a series of initial questions, he or she should ask why you are canceling your service. Respond to this by presenting the best offer you found when researching competitors’ rates and let him or her know that the only reason you are canceling your service is to reduce your monthly bill. The retention team member will probably respond to this by offering you a free service upgrade such as faster Internet speed. Politely decline this offer, and tell the representative that you are strictly interested in lower rates and would like to move forward with the cancellation process. This should lead to an appealing offer that reduce your rates significant without making adjustments to your current service package. This offer will probably be a six-month or one-year introductory or promotional package. However, as long as it does not involve a contract, take it, then repeat this process a few weeks before your rates expire. You will have to make this phone call once or twice a year to maintain discounted rates, but compared to the hundreds of dollars this can save you annually, it should be a reasonable trade off.
This method is most effective if you are not in a service contract or if you use it shortly before your contract expires.
Buy a Modem Instead of Renting One
Most Internet service providers charge around $8 a month for a modem rental. Typically, the same models can be purchased on websites like Amazon.com for less than $100. Better yet, you can often find used models on eBay for 30% less than this. While laying out this money up front may be a minor hardship, after breaking even, this purchase should save you around $100 a year.
Buy a VoIP Telephone Adaptor
Unless you are paying under $10 a month for your home phone service as part of a double or triple play package, you are better off canceling it and exploring other options. As long as you have a high-speed internet connection, I would strongly suggest getting VoIP (Voice-over-Internet Protocol) home phone service from a company that allows you to buy your own adapter. If you currently have landline service, you should not notice any difference in your call quality if you switch to a VoIP provider. You will simply be placing calls through your internet connection as opposed to a landline. It is worth mentioning that in the event of a power outage you will not be able to make or receive calls. As a result, if you live in a part of the country that experiences extreme weather, you may want to skip this suggestion.
Among the many companies offering VoIP service, Ooma is my personal favorite. Its VoIP adapter currently costs around $130, but after buying it you will get free nationwide calling as well as most standard home phone features. The only charge for which you will be responsible is approximately $4.00 per month for service taxes.
If the cost of Ooma’s adapter puts a sour taste in your month, consider buying an Obihai VoIP adapter. Obihai’s VoIP technology is nearly identical to Ooma’s and far superior to the hardware offered by similar companies. Obihai’s most recent model, the OBi202, has received great consumer reviews and only costs about $70. The only major drawback to the OBi202 is that you must set it up with Google Voice or a similar VoIP application. Currently, Google does not charge anything for unlimited nationwide calling, but sometime in the future, this may change. Even if this does change, though, it’s unlikely Google would charge more than $10 a month for its service.
Be cautious before buying a VoIP adapter from other companies such as MagicJack and netTALK. While these companies claim to offer premium service, many consumers have complained about poor call quality and other issues with their devices.
Hopefully, these suggestions will help you save money painlessly. If you have used other saving methods to reduce the cost of Internet, Pay-TV and/or home phone service, please share them using the comments feature below.
This is a guest post from Richard Syrop, author of Effortless Savings: A Step-by-Step Guidebook to Saving Money Without Sacrifice. It’s a great read with practical advice that will save you money.