Right now our internet and phone services look like this:
Cable TV: ~$20/mth – We only have basic cable (network TV, no ESPN, etc.) as well as a digital cable box that gives us hundreds of hours of free On-Demand programming from channels like HGTV, BBC, Discovery, etc.
Cable Internet: ~$33/mth – This service normally costs about $43/mth, but we got a 1 year discount. However, the discount out this month (see below).
Vonage VOIP: ~$24/mth – We’re on their lowest plan (500 minutes/mth), but thanks to new taxes, including a $2 phone tax for Montgomery County, MD as of this month, we’re paying about $5 more per month than just late last year. But our VOIP plan is a topic for a different discussion.
Negotiating a Lower Cable Internet Price
So we got our newest cable bill yesterday, and I received a bit of a shock when I opened it. Rather than our total bill being about $60 for both TV and internet (with taxes/fees), it was just over $80! It was 8:55pm, and customer support closed at 9pm, but I decided to try to call anyway.
Surprisingly, I got through to a very helpful CSR who immediately noticed two things:
1) Our special discount ended this month
2) They incorrectly applied the code for cable internet as if I didn’t have a cable TV package ($60), which is $17 more per month than their regular internet price.
She corrected the code, but I mentioned it’s still about $15 more per month than I could get DSL. She said she would check into what specials she could offer, but noted that you “usually won’t qualify for a special until 3 months after your last discount ended”. However, she came back with the price of $30 per month (rounded off) for internet; $3/mth less than I was already paying. I said “Sure! Sign me up!”.
Please don’t tempt me!
But then she mentioned they have a special just in the month of June where you can get any of their “Triple Play” items (TV, internet, phone) for $29.95/mth for a year, but you don’t need to get all 3 items to qualify. The TV deal is their “Digital Starter Package“, which gives basic cable plus a digital box (which we already have), plus expanded cable (ESPN, Discovery, etc.), all for just $10 more per month than we’re currently paying.
Ooooooh, so tempting. While we get free shows on OnDemand, we have to wait for Comcast to load them up, which appears to be on a spotty schedule. But is this just lifestyle inflation? I know there are other options to watch TV online or by renting DVDs of shows after the season ends, but sometimes I just want to flip through and watch someone eating some weird food, or monkeys doing weird things to each other, or whatever else shows up on cable these days. I don’t want to wait! I want to be a couch potato now!!!
Luckily this is the summer when we have more than enough home projects to keep us busy, as well as our day jobs, side businesses and, of course, my graduate school classes. But it is still very tempting, especially since both our families are coming down next month and some members like their TV (or it’s nice to keep the kids busy while the adults catch up with conversation).
What would you do? Would you pull the trigger and upgrade your package for $10 more a month for a year? Remember, that’s $120, plus taxes.