We’re switching from DirecTV back to Charter cable. My husband does an annual review of our TV, internet, and phone services to make sure we’re getting the best rates.
It seems like every time we check, the other service is offering an incentive that’s lower than our current bill. After a year, they always seem to send a letter increasing the rates…. so we just switch back.
Since they usually waive the installation fee and send a technician to do the work, switching is relatively easy. In addition, we planned ahead by wiring our house for both cable and satellite when we built. This is the third switch we’ve made in 3 years.
Our savings this time around, is $14 per month. We’re using Charter for the TV and internet, and keeping Vonage for phone.
In addition, we’re getting DVR with the cheaper cable package. Our current DVR is an old one that doesn’t require a monthly subscription fee, so we’ve considered selling it on eBay.
Wouldn’t it be cheaper to just go without? Sure. But if we’re going to use it, why not shop around for the cheapest rates?
By the Numbers
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My approach is even more simple and cost-effective, but it won’t work for many people. I don’t watch TV.
There are just too many things to do in life, so watching others just isn’t on my list.
Besides, all the commercial campaigns are meant to make us less satisfied with our lives – encouraging us to buy more stuff to fill the void – so TV really hurts our ability to be frugal and good decision makers.
I consider TV to be an intrusion in my life, and so I’ve eliminated it for about 15 years now. And, I can’t say that I’ve missed a thing.
Asking Americans to do without television is like asking them to do without a car. It’s a difficult habit for people to break, but if we would go without TV for 30 days, I think we would see that our lives lacked nothing (except unwarranted distraction) during those 30 days.
I’ve actually axed my cable in favor of Netflix and Hulu. I don’t spend time flipping channels anymore or just watching junk, and I catch less advertisements. I’m also saving about $80 a month.
How are you handling changing your email address every time you change your internet?
@ Dan: I use gmail, so my email address never has to change.
The change in rates would probably need to be a VERY significant difference for me to keep changing back and forth like that.
Also…that’s cool that people don’t watch tv…but I like tv thankyouverymuch and even though there are days w/o it, i find my days still satisfying with it.
I think that is an awesome way to save on cable and internet. You couldn’t tell my dad this idea. He loves comcast cable far too much.
Glad you can keep getting good deals. For us, it’s not worthwhile. Because of the hassle of switching. And, also, Comcast is here. So the rate will be GREAT for a couple of months, but then we’d go back to the normal rate. Dish is significantly cheaper for us, plus we get 2 free DVRs. Always nice!
Still, I’m glad you guys can switch back and forth so easily.
I go about this a little differently: When a better offer comes along, I contact my phone/internet/cable company and ask to speak to their “loyalty and retention department”. I then describe the program I’m considering switching to, and ask what they can offer me that’s competitive to keep my business. Last week, they dropped my internet charges by $12/month, and have increased my speed by 1.5x. I don’t have to put up with constant switching everything around, so everyone wins!
I wonder how quickly it will be until you switch back. I absolutely hate Charter. Worst company in the entire industry — just look at their customer service surveys.
I didn’t know how bad we had it until we got DirecTV and in the future we will either take it with us or drop TV all together and put up the digital antenna to get the local channels.
Sue – I do what you do too; works nine times out of ten.
Excellent use of the free market, or at least what remains of it. You are free to go elsewhere and they are free to match offers made by the competition. I think Mr. Cohen would chime in: “Everything is negotiable.”
What businesses are counting on is the complacent consumer. Sometimes we just need to take simple actions like stating our interests and confirming their interests in the business world.
It seems clear that you wanted to keep a service that you were happy with, and they wanted to keep a customer that they were happy with. Everyone won, and all it took was a phone call and assertiveness.
I’ve had situations where I had to run my assertiveness up to the president of the company. I’m the president of my wealth, so it seems justifiable to keep pushing it up the chain of command. I draw the line when it becomes just too hard to be a customer.
Your example should be an encouragement for all of us in this market economy, after all, we are the market.
My wife and I recently dropped our premium channels and just have basic cable and internet through Comcast. We use Netflix streaming to get content for our kids to watch when our local PBS stations are not broadcasting children’s programming. I get ESPN3 through my Xbox 360 so I can watch sports. We are saving $100 a month effortlessly and we kick ourselves for not doing it sooner!