We have to be out of our house at the end of the month and I have started the process of transferring all of our utilities over to the place we’ll be renting this summer until our new house is built.

Most of the transfers can now be made online, but I like to use these opportunities to call each company directly and discuss our bill to see if we are getting the best deal possible.  I’m glad that I did, since we ended up saving over $300 on our cable and internet bills with just two phone calls.

How Did I Save On Cable And Internet Bills?

First I called TELUS, our internet service provider, to let them know about our move.  I noticed that since their last dividend increase my bill had just gone up from $37.95 to $41.50 per month.  At the end of the call I brought up the billing increase.  I just flat out asked if they had a better available monthly rate, and after a few minutes on hold they came back and offered me a rate of $35, for a savings of $78 over the next year ($6.50 per month).

Next up was our satellite TV provider, Bell XPressVu.  I was determined to get a better deal from Bell or I was going to switch to the new TELUS Optik TV to save on cable.  We were paying around $80 per month, which was a bit high considering we only watch about half a dozen shows.

The nice thing about moving is that you have a good incentive to switch providers since you are going to make the transfer arrangements anyway.  The Bell customer service rep was going to charge me $75 to hook-up the satellite a 2nd time (for the new house), so that’s where I made my move to escalate the call to their loyalty department.  I spoke with a very nice woman who not only agreed to waive the hook-up fee, but also managed to reduce our monthly bill by $20 for the next 12 months, for a savings of $240 for the year.

Thinking about calling your provider to get a better deal?  Here are a few money saving tips to help increase your chances of success:

Review Your Bill Frequently

I have been a Bell satellite subscriber for over 12 years.  When I moved to our current house nearly 8 years ago I called Bell to transfer my service and was surprised to hear that I was paying for a package that no longer existed in their system.  It turned out that I was over-paying for similar service by about $10 per month.

Since that day I have made it a point to regularly call each utility company and review my bill to ensure that I am still getting the best available price.  We’ve all seen the special offers geared towards signing up new customers but there is never an incentive to keep loyal customers happy.  The next time you see a deal offered by your service provider, call and ask for a similar incentive for your account to make sure you save on cable and other utilities.

Call With A Purpose

Just calling and asking the first available representative for a better price on your monthly bill won’t likely get you anywhere.  You need to call with a purpose in mind.  Have a competitors’ most recent offer in your hands to refer to during the phone call.  Know the exact service you are currently receiving and the price that you’re paying.

The first person you speak with is probably a front line employee and they have little authority to offer you big savings and discounts.  If you are serious about saving money then ask to speak with Loyalty and Retention, a department who has the authority and incentive to keep you loyal and happy.

Be Willing To Walk Away

Set a savings goal that you want to achieve by the end of the call.  If you don’t reach that goal, are you willing to walk away?  I have heard a lot of anecdotal evidence describing how easy the customer service representatives will cave-in and do whatever it takes to keep your business, but in reality it’s not that simple.  At least it shouldn’t be.  As a shareholder of BCE, I don’t want them to just give money away with every phone call.

Know what the competition is offering and how it will impact your bottom line if you switch.  Most of the time the introductory offer for new customers is a 3-6 month deep discount before the full price kicks-in.  Explain your eagerness to switch and that you are giving your current provider the chance to match or exceed their offer.  Being willing to walk away will show that you are serious and that there is a sense of urgency with the call.

Readers: Are you ever tempted to switch to a new provider in order to save on cable or internet charges?  Do you regularly call your current provider to check for discounts?

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