Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Question the cable company

A few weeks ago when we got a letter from Verizon telling us that our Fios television bill was about to go up by $30 a month, I immediately handed it to Matt and asked him to take care of it when he had a minute. After all, this technically falls under his "communicate with service people" duty in our division of labor task menu, and $30 more a month is a steep hike.

Matt called and got passed around to multiple customer service reps, mostly because we don't have a home phone number and this apparently confuses people at a telephone company. When Matt finally spoke to the right person, the conversation went something like this:

Matt: "Hi, I'm calling because I wanted to inquire regarding the additional $30 charge scheduled to be added to our Fios bill beginning July 1."

Verizon customer service rep: "OK, here's what I can do for you. I can reduce your bill to $4 a month less than what you currently pay, and I can give you all the premium movie channels for 3 months. Does that sound OK?"

Matt, slightly shocked: "Sure, that sounds fine."

I have to say, I don't think we've ever had an easier negotiation. Matt didn't even threaten to stop our Fios service and switch over to Direct TV, as he has said before, and he didn't even have a chance to ask for a smaller bill. The woman just said that instead of charging us $30 extra, she'd charge us $4 less, meaning we won back essentially $34 every month. I could do without the premium movie channels; I know the cable company throws that in because they assume we'll forget to shut it off on September 1, but we can promise them we won't forget.

Whether you get a letter about a $30 increase to your monthly cable bill or not, it's always a good idea to call your company periodically and ask for a better deal. Matt does this once or twice every year, and he always does his research before he calls so he can know what the other companies have to offer. Actually, I think there must be a notation on our account that reads, "Give these people what they want" because it was just too easy for Matt to negotiate down that latest bill hike.

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