Expiration dates aren’t just for leftovers – your Internet and TV bills probably include one too, and you’ll want to put it on your calendar.
This is the date when the discounts you got for signing up for a service disappear, leaving you to pay a much higher rate unless you call to negotiate something better.
Your first step is to find this date so that you can put it on your calendar. It may be less obvious than you think: Even if you remember when you signed up for the service, not all promotional discounts end 12 months later.
If you’re lucky, it will be on your invoice, but it probably won’t be on the first page. For example, a Verizon Fios invoice that I inspected showed the expiration dates of various discounts on its second page in relatively plain language: “A $ 55 internet rebate includes a $ 20 rebate expiring 04/09 / 18 and a $ 35 rebate expiring 04/19/19. The TV discount expires on 04/09/19.
The potential financial result: a nearly doubling of the bill from $ 99.99 to $ 184.99.
(Disclosure: I also write for Yahoo Finance, a subsidiary of the media division of Verizon Oath.)
If you don’t see any reminder about the expiration of promotions on your bill, or if you have paperless billing, without a detailed breakdown of your costs emailed to you, log into your account on line and check there.
When it’s time to call and negotiate a new rate, research your options first. Find out what other companies will charge for Internet and TV, even if they are provided separately. While you may not have a good choice of broadband service providers, many cable TV subscribers can credibly threaten to switch to satellite TV.
Don’t forget the complications induced by the merger. If you’ve already subscribed to cable or the Internet from Time Warner Cable Charter bought this business Two years ago, you may have to choose between paying the non-promotional rate of your old plan or upgrading to a newer plan from the Combined Company, which now goes through Spectrum.
When you call to ask for a better deal, be clear, but don’t be a jerk. Write down all the options you have and how long you’ve been a customer, then say you’ll change if you end up with a non-promotional rate. You can then move on to a customer loyalty rep, whose job it is to keep you staying.
Most of the time, as I’ve seen in reports from readers and friends as well as in posts on forums like Reddit’s r / Frugal, ask for massive rate differences. In other words, if you don’t take a few minutes to ask, you will inevitably subsidize the people who take the time to negotiate.
Whatever the outcome of this discussion, don’t forget other ways to lower your bill. Buy your cable modem if you paid rent on it. In fact, you should do it now, unless there is a high probability that you will be moving next year.
You should definitely take a close look at the channels in your current package and decide if you need them all, especially regional sports networks which are often not billed separately.
Finally, if you’re not ready to cut the cord completely, consider ditching cable service on a second or third TV in favor of online streaming or live broadcasts. This can easily save $ 10 to $ 20 in hardware costs per set, although your chances of being able to replace a decoder with a free app from your TV provider get better.