Is There a Catch to “Switch and Save” Cable TV Claims?

Published on Feb 01 2013 // Written By // Savings, Supporter

Cable TV and internet are a major expense for many of us yet Blake Sanders of comparison site Broadband Expert tells us millions of us are over paying by as much as $1,200 every year. Blake shares some tips on how you could slash your bill by switching to a new provider.

Don’t limit yourself to cable companies

2438005410_6100c23246_mYou can now get cable, DSL and satellite providers offering TV, internet and phone services in most areas. By comparing these services you will probably be able to save a considerable amount for a comparable service.
You could visit each provider’s site and enter details of different plans in to a spreadsheet however this is time consuming. The alternative is spending two minutes on a comparison site like Broadband Expert which will quickly show you a comparison of prices and plans from different providers available at your address. Satellite providers in particular are offering some low priced deals for TV and internet to try and tempt away cable customers.

If you get internet access with your package

Many cable companies necessitate the purchasing of a modem.  You may be offered a rebate.  If not, ask for one.
Keep the packaging as you may need some of it in order to comply with the rebate instructions.  Check the rebate instructions and follow them exactly.
There are estimates that 15% of the rebates are correctly claimed.  Read the rules carefully.

Teaser Rates Are the Key

They give you a great monthly price just for switching from your current cable company.  You just have to be sure of exactly what you will be paying over the length of the contract.  Beware of the special offers.  Some keep that low price for only 3 to 12 months.  After that he prices may raise significantly.  Be wary of the teaser services such as free premium channel packages for some months as they generally automatically renew at full cost which means a big hole in your pocket.
Put a spreadsheet together of the whole contract and fill in the prices for the complete length of the contract.  At the end, add up the total cost.  Use this for comparing your present contract.

Don’t Pay for the Installation

If the cable company wants to charge you, ask them to waive the installation fee.  They should waive the charges just to add you as a customer.

Buy Your Modem from a Third Party

5857006789_6b6f05eb5f_mYour cable company should be able to give you a list of acceptable modems.  You may wind up paying less than they will charge.  Visit on-line auction sites.
Ask your friends.  You may find one for free! If you live in an apartment complex, check the trash dumpsters as building owners often throw away perfectly good equipment when a renter leaves.

Obtain a written contract

Before you agree to a cable contract, get the contract in writing.  Do not believe what a salesman promises.  Get the written quote and verify it is what you expected.

Check the Bill Immediately

Read the charges, line by line.  Make sure you are getting everything you requested.  Also make sure the prices are identical to what is on the contract.
If you see taxes and FCC fees (and you will) rest assured that this is normal.  Check your bill for differences in what you are supposed to be receiving.
Check your bill every month!
Report each and every service outage.  Keep detailed, complete and accurate notes.  Also keep the notes in one place.  Don’t store them on the cloud as they will be totally useless if your Internet service is not working unless you have mobile internet access.
Make sure you relate previous service outages and outages to the cable service representative. Request credit for lost services. If you have a lot of problems time and time again, ask for 3 months service for your troubles.  They may give you one or two.

What To Do After the Contract Expires

Ask for special deals for renewing.  If the sales rep says they are for new customers, remind them you could become an ex-customer.  It may also be helpful if you come prepared with quotes from other cable providers.  Remember that spreadsheet you completed at the beginning or your research?  Pull that out and enter up to date numbers.
If you cannot get a better deal, then stand behind your words and change cable companies or try a satellite provider.  After your new service provider’s contract expires, you may find you can save money by switching again – maybe even back to the original provider!



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About

Tushar Mathur has been blogging about Personal Finance since January, 2007. This has helped him recognize what topics readers like and relate to. The goal is to spot good news-worthy info and get it out to the public as soon as possible. Tushar Mathur maintains this Personal Finance blog called Everything Finance. The blog articles fall under these categories: Investing, saving money, shopping, blogging and making money online. Send an email at tushar@everythingfinanceblog.com

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