Comcast No Longer Offers Promotions to Current Customers

by Jon Dulin

***UPDATE*** My wife and I recently got a deal from Comcast. We online had to sacrifice an entire Saturday to do so. We got tired of not getting a deal with Comcast and our bill being a different price every month or so. We contacted Verizon FiOS and got a great deal including gift cards. We called Comcast to cancel and surprise, surprise, they actually were willing to negotiate now.

In the past, we pulled the threaten to leave card and they never did anything about it. But not this time. We doubted they could match the Verizon offer, but they actually beat it. Now, it being Comcast, we wanted to get locked into a deal so that our monthly price didn’t skyrocket the next month. We locked in our price for 2 years. What was our deal? Cable and internet for 2 years. Free HBO for 12 months and free HD/DVR boxes for the entire 2 years. So, if you are stuck not getting a deal from Comcast, look into Verizon, get some quotes and then call Comcast. But you have to be willing to pull the cord with Comcast. We were all set to do so when they finally negotiated with us. Good luck!!  ***END UPDATE***

 

One of the great (and easiest) ways to save money on your cable and internet bill is to simply call up your provider and ask for a promotion. I detailed this process in a previous post when I was considering cutting the cable.

Fast forward to a little over a week ago and my latest promotion ended. The same tired routine begins with calling Comcast to continue my deal, only this time, I am not offered a deal. No problem as it’s probably just the person I am dealing with. I decide to call back again in another day. After that call, still no promotion. After many more calls, I finally get a representative that tells me that Comcast introduced a new policy in that they are no longer offering “rolling promotions” to customers. It makes no sense, but I’ll do my best to explain it and I will show you how to go about still getting a promotion below.

No Promotions for Current Comcast Customers

A rolling promotion is when I get a six month deal on my cable bill. When the six months ends, I call back in and get the same promotion extended for another six months. After those six months, I get it extended again. According to the rep, the reason for no longer doing this is two-fold: first, customers complain about the variability of their monthly bill and second, Comcast isn’t making enough money on the services it provides.

Let me break this down for everyone. Basically, the average person out there gets a six month promo and doesn’t mark down when this promo will end. At month seven, they open up their bill to find it skyrocketed and calls to complain. Comcast doesn’t want this to happen so the logical solution is to end rolling promotions. Of course, this doesn’t take into account that Comcast raises its prices on a regular basis so your bill usually varies month to month anyway.

The second reason is even better, that Comcast isn’t making enough money. And they wonder why everyone hates them. For the year ended 2011, Comcast only increased free cash flow 30% to $7 billion on revenues of $55 billion.

Comcast claims they are no longer offering these promotions for the benefit of the customer. I think that Comcast is going to change its mind quickly and start offering the promotions again. The reason being is technology. I read stories every day of people cutting their cable service and not regretting it one bit. With the internet and some content providers, you can get most everything you want without the need for cable. When I look at my viewing habits, I rarely watch non-sports in real time. It’s usually at some other time via the DVR, so there is no need for me to have the latest episode of Modern Family right when it airs. As time goes on, more technology will make this even easier to do.

The one thing that has kept many people on cable company’s payroll is price. The bill might be a little high, but with a promotion, it is more acceptable. Put another way, paying $100 per month is worth the time I would have to use to research other ways of watching TV. It’s opportunity cost. But now that the bill is going to be closer to $200 per month, many more people will be thinking twice about ditching cable. Spending the time researching alternatives suddenly becomes worth the effort.

You’re Best Option When Trying To Cut Your Cable Bill

Based on my experience and others that have commented, the odds of getting Comcast to lower your cable bill is small. But, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Here is you plan when you do call:

  • Bypass the customer service rep: At the end of the day, the customer service rep can only do so much. Think about your job and the decisions you can make without needing approval. Same idea applies here. Giving discounts that aren’t on the monthly promotional sheet aren’t possible with this person. Save the aggravation.
  • Talk to the retention department: When you are in the voice-prompt menu, listen for when it mentions canceling your service. These are the people you want to talk to. When you do start talking to them, have a plan and stick to it.
  • Plan of Attack: The number one thing you need to do is to stay nice and calm. The minute you get mean, the less likely you will get help. Stay calm and explain that you’re not certain cable is worth the price you are paying and you are thinking of canceling your service. Before you cancel, you just wanted to see if there is any promotion or discount that could be applied to your bill.
  • Stick to the Plan:  The reps have gotten better at this and will come back with offers that you think are deals. They will try to get you into the Triple Play package or will tell you that there is a discount on the “every channel we have plus more” package. Stand your ground. While these sound good at first, here is what happens: In six months when the promotion expires, you will be paying more, much more, than you are now. They suckered my Mom into this. She basically had every channel known to man. I was considering moving back home! In six months, her bill went from $133/month to $296/month. She nearly had a heart attack.
  • Take Your Time: After they offer the first set of “deals”, pause for a minute as if you are thinking it over and then politely decline. Ask if they have anything else. Repeat this a few more times. In the past, I’ve gotten my discount extended after the third time I asked if there was anything else.
  • Cancel if Needed: If they can’t offer you a deal, then say you would like to cancel. This is the last resort. They want to see if you are serious or not. Tell them that you really don’t want to cancel, but the price is just too much. Many times they will make a last-ditch effort. In some cases they won’t. I’ve canceled my cable, effective the end of the billing cycle. Then the next day I call back and tell them to ignore the cancellation.
  • Go to Twitter:  If all else fails, go to Twitter and tweet about how Comcast isn’t offering you a discount. Be sure to include there Twitter handle in the tweet. You’ll most likely get a direct message from a Comcast rep to help you out. This sounds crazy, but it works. I’ve done this for many service providers. in 99% of the time, when I couldn’t get what I wanted with a phone call, I got what I wanted through a tweet.

Other Television Options

If you cannot get your Comcast bill reduced, you have a few options. These include Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Xbox One and Playstation 4. All of these have apps that allow you to stream content from other providers, such as MLB TV for baseball, Netflix for movies and TV shows, and YouTube for videos. Unless you are a die hard sports fan, cutting your cable and buying these devices is a no-brainer.

Other Ways to Save Money

If you  are interested in saving money in other areas of your life, you have many options. Your mortgage and insurance are two places we spend a lot of money. A free insurance quote or refinance can save you hundreds even thousands of dollars.

Of course, there are other, small ways to save money too. I outline over 100 tips in my eBook, Spare Change.

Final Thoughts

In the end, I was able to get $10 knocked off my bill. The current price with the promotion that I pay is acceptable to me. But if they start increasing prices and still don’t offer promotions, I’ll most likely be leaving.

Readers, have any of you been able to secure a rolling promotion with Comcast recently?

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Sean @ One Smart Dollar October 1, 2012 at 9:30 am

I actually called last week and going on a new promotion that cut my bill down $20/month. It wasn’t as much as I wanted so in a few months I am going to call again and threaten to leave.

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moneysma October 1, 2012 at 6:00 pm

You’re certainly one of the few lucky ones Sean. You should probably start a side gig calling Comcast for other people to get their bills reduced or sell your technique. You’ll make a killing!

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Jason October 1, 2012 at 9:57 am

Comcast didn’t offer me a rolling promotion when I spoke to a customer service rep to re-up my 6-month deal. The first time around they transferred me to a retention rep and they gave me a new promotion good for another 6-months. Knowing I was going to have to deal with this again, when the new 6-month promotion ended, I called again and spoke to the rep. I basically said there is no reason to transfer me to the retention dept…just renew my promotion (as they will) and make this easier on both of us. They refused to do it and then transferred me to the retention rep. By that time I was furious and just canceled my package with them and moved to another carrier (even though the retention rep offered me a new 6-month promotion).

It’s ridiculous to have to jump through hoops every time with these companies and 6 months just isn’t long enough. My new carrier locked in my rates for 2 years; although it was a few dollars more each month than the 6-month promotional offer from Comcast, I figured it was easily worth the increase as it was going to save me plenty of time and hassle down the road.
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moneysma October 1, 2012 at 5:59 pm

When I spoke to the rep, Comcast is going to try to start locking customers into long-term deals to keep the prices from fluctuating. But then at the end of the contract, I’m sure the price will just go up, which ironically, IS THE SAME THING THAT IS HAPPENING NOW! You just have to step back and laugh.

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Aaron October 1, 2012 at 10:17 am

Oh Comcast – they are a company of virtue aren’t they? :) We had similar problems too when trying to re-negotiate our monthly bill too – but had the same outcome. I love their reasons though- wow.

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moneysma October 1, 2012 at 5:57 pm

I’ve had many friends and family with the same experience.

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John S @ Frugal Rules October 1, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Wow. Thankfully we don’t have Comcast as they’re not in our area. We have DirectTV and they’re not much better. Their bills tend to be fairly difficult to disect and makes it confusing to understand.
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moneysma October 1, 2012 at 5:56 pm

My sister and brother-in-law have DirecTV and they also mention about the difficulty in understanding the bill. My sister always complains that whenever her favorite show comes on, the signal goes out.

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Jacob @ iheartbudgets October 1, 2012 at 5:53 pm

I finally just gave in and slowed down my internet speed to recude the price. The lady wouldn’t give me a promotion, BUT, she did say that you can ower your bill with reduced internet speed, then call back to “change” your plan a month or so later, and get the newest promotion. I haven’t tried it, but the customer retention lady told me to do it!

And yes, I always talk to customer retention when I threaten to cancel my cable unless they reduce the price ;)
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Bill October 3, 2012 at 4:10 pm

That is very disappointing, but I have never heard good things about Comcast. I wish there was a way to get more competition to drive prices down for cable. It is just too expensive.
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James October 4, 2012 at 3:57 pm

I used to be a Comcast customer, but had HORRIBLE experiences with them. It’s unfortunate they aren’t giving new customers promos anymore, but my current provider DISH sure is. I got a friend set up with DISH on the referral program, and they got a TON of goodies. I also just got the new Hopper, and this DVR is amazing. I heard about it from a DISH coworker, and it actually lets you record up to 6 live HD programs at once. PrimeTime Anytime automatically records all the PT shows on the bi four networks each night, and DISH is giving out really good deals on this baby. After having Comcast, the Hopper, and DISH are like dreams come true.

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Joe November 9, 2012 at 9:45 pm

I had the same situation with Comcast this week. My promotion expired. I called and s/w a customer service rep who told me that she can’t offer me another promotion. She advised that Comcast doesn’t offer promotions anymore. She went on to advise me that I actually had second promotion on my account that was expiring in March and then my bill would increase another $20.

I told her that I needed another promotion or I would have to cancel. She told me that I should cancel service then. So I did. They transferred me to their retention department who wouldn’t give me a promotion either. I told her to cancel and she did. There was no attempt to save me as a customer at all. I guess Comcast is willing to accept the risk of losing customers over their new policy.

I am off to another carrier or perhaps, just use technology, as a previous entry suggests.

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moneysma November 11, 2012 at 11:57 am

Isn’t it crazy how they refuse to even try to keep you as a customer? I don’t know their financials, but as long as you aren’t losing money on a customer, why not give them a discount to keep them happy? Heck, with all of the money they make on other customers, they could take a loss on a few by keeping them on board with discounts.

Keep me posted on what you end up doing.

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Matt November 14, 2012 at 9:13 am

Same thing just happened to me. My promotional internet only rate expires on the 18th of the month. When I signed up the CSR told me that I could simply obtain a new promotion by just calling back and asking for it at the end of my current promotion. Well so much for that. After realizing I wasn’t getting any where with this person, I asked to be transferred to cancellations. When I explained my situation to the next CSR, they simply said “Okay, would you like me to turn off the service on the 18th then?” That was it! I can’t believe they didn’t even try to retain me as a customer. I am thinking about calling back and requesting new service in my wife’s name. Not sure if that will work or if I have to wait a certain amount of time. If anybody has tried this or has any tips they would like to share, that would be great. I still have DSL service, but I really don’t want to start using it again.

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moneysma November 14, 2012 at 5:52 pm

I’m not sure if trying your wife’s name will work, but it’s worth a shot. I’ve made a reminder to call back each month to try and get a discount but haven’t gotten one yet.

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art December 30, 2012 at 12:06 am

I dropped Comcast Triple Play when they refused to give me anything after approx 8 years with them. My experience was the same as the writer’s.

And let’s not forget I was on hold 45 minutes or more on 3 occasions regardless of when I called. Worse yet, the rotten rep in Mn. disconnected me when she didn’t want to hear my complaint.

What I didn’t expect were the lies and misrepresentations I got from DIRECTV after agreeing to sign up with themand rgteir partner Century Link.

I think I went from “the frying pan to the fire.”

Screwed either way with these damn monopolies.

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Jim March 5, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Comcast is horrible , bad service , bad reps, bad techs and rude to boot.They went up on my service 2 times in less than a year ( 100% increase ) and at the end of the day told me to like it or lump it . Well I think it’s time to lump it. I really do hope they go broke. What more can I say. I hate this blood sucking company. Oh, did I forget to tell you about all the missed appointments ?

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Bob May 25, 2013 at 8:55 pm

Comcast are bandits. I have been refused promotional offers as of the recent month while my good friend and neighbor went off his promotion at the same time. We both have been with Comcast since their beginnings. We both paid our bills on time. I am probably more tactful and a better communicator in that my friends gets hotheaded. He was given the promotion and after multiple attempts and explanations about my friend’s bill they refuse to give me the same deal and manufacture a litany of excuses.
Bottom line is I am signing on with an attorney in L.A. who is building a class action lawsuit against Comcast. I don’t want any money, but want the discrimination and unethical behavior to stop in addition to stopping their monopoly in most areas. If I did this in my small business, I would be sued and out of business.

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Jack September 10, 2013 at 12:19 am

The only thing worse than DirecTv is Comcast… :-)

I made the switch to Roku + Netflix last year and have already saved $800. Better yet, there’s always something interesting to watch and it’s right there in the “recommended for Jack” section at the top of the list of content. And the ultimate goodie – no more ads.

Admittedly, I don’t watch much sports. For the Big Game, I go to a sports bar, and I can get anything broadcast locally over my indoor antenna.

I’m never going back to cable, or satellite. I’m freeeeeee….

I wrote it up on my blog, but won’t comment spam Jon here. You can find it if you’re curious.

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