It’s bill-paying day for roommates Deanna Belleny and Leah Matthews, and as usual, they are both baffled by what seems like a growing list of bizarre charges on their monthly cable TV, Internet and phone bill.
The two wonder what things like “the federal, universal service fee,” “the EMTA lease fee,” and the “Internet district tax” are.
It’s confusing and upsetting for the two young professionals from Upper Kirby, who, like most, are tired of watching their bills go up and up.
“They’re sneaky. They sneak in higher fees and higher rates constantly,” Matthews said of her cable, internet and phone provider.
What Belleny and Matthews need to do is renegotiate their monthly, bundled, cable, Internet and phone bill, and start saving money every month.
What Belleny and Matthews don’t know and what most fail to realize is that currently the major, pay television providers of programming and movies are being pounded by an avalanche of new entertainment alternatives available over the Internet.
All of which makes right now the perfect time to hit up your cable, Internet and phone providers for a far better monthly deal, according to Mathew Ong, senior retail specialist at nerdwallet.com in San Francisco.
“Right now is the best time in 10 years to negotiate with your cable company,” Ong said.
Now, working with the experts at nerdwallet.com, here are five simple steps to lowering those bills every month.
Step One: Tell the company you want to cancel your service.
“When you call your provider and threaten to cancel your subscription, you’ll be transferred to a customer retention specialist — a person whose whole job is dependent on keeping you on board as a customer, to keep you paying for whatever they can get you for,” said Ong.
Step Two: Tell the company you want the very same pricing they are offering new customers, which is the same as asking for their best deal.
Step Three: If step two fails, tell the company exactly what their competitors are offering and tell them you want that deal.
To make sure you know what you are talking about, have the competitors’ deal printed out in front of you.
“I would be very upfront and say, this is exactly what I want, this is what I can get from your competition if I switch to them,” Ong said.
Step Four: Be professional and polite. Whatever you do, don’t ever get angry and rude.
“Be firm, very firm, but polite. Be positive and persistent and personal with the person you are negotiating with,” Ong said.
Step Five: If you fail, don’t give up. Try again.
“If you fail at negotiating, call a second time a few days later, you will get someone else, and if that does not work, call back a third time a week after that. The trick is finding someone who wants to make the deal bad enough to deal with you and give you what you want,” said Ong.