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.
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 Ways to Save Money
If you cannot get your Comcast bill reduced but 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.
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?