Don’t pay “retail” for your cable/Internet service. If you live in an area with more than one internet provider, you can use that competition to negotiate a lower price.
Beyond their standard bundling deals, cable and Internet providers do negotiate. Before you sign with Verizon, Comcast, Cox or another provider, do your homework by making a list of what special deals are being offered by its competitors. Then use that information to work a deal. If your community isn’t served by more than one provider, you could try using specials from a satellite dish company to make your case when negotiating for cable TV.
Bargaining as a new customer. Few Americans enjoy bargaining, but you can save a lot of money if you can talk your provider down by even $10 a month. For example, if you want Verizon, but know Cox is offering a better deal, tell Verizon that: “I’m in the market for cable and Internet service. I would love to be a Verizon customer, but Cox is offering a better deal. They are offering X. Can you work with me to meet or beat Cox’s price?” If the Verizon rep says no, ask if they can offer you some freebies (six months of HBO maybe?) that would sweeten the pot and convince you to go with Verizon instead of Cox. Wanna go hard core? First contact Cox to get their best price by phone—sometimes they will beat their advertised specials when you call—and use that better Cox deal to bargain with Verizon. When you do this, be sure to get the name of the Cox rep so Verizon could call and confirm if they want. It’s very unlikely they would, but it shows you are a well-educated consumer.
Bargaining as an existing customer. Bargaining is also essential when that first year of a great price ends, and your bill suddenly goes up by 50%. Again, do your homework on what is being offered to new customers, by both your company and its competitors. Then call and tell the rep that you are considering switching companies. Just saying your bill went up and you want a better price likely won’t get you where you want to go; you have to threaten to leave. That should get you transferred to the correct office, the one that has more discretion on price: its customer retention office. Each company has a different name for that office, but they all have the same function—to keep existing customers from jumping ship. You may not get as good a deal as a new customer, but you should be able to get some type of reduction.
A calm, reasoned approach — backed by facts — can save you a bundle.