Anyone in marketing can tell you that it costs a company more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one.  That’s because few of us like change, particularly the type of change that can disrupt our day-to-day lives.  It’s a hassle to switch banks, or internet and cable providers, so as long as things run relatively smooth then most of us are happy to stay put.

Related: Take a day off to work on your finances

How much is your loyalty worth?

We like to think that our loyalty will count for something when it comes time to upgrade a package, buy a new product, or fix a problem.  But in reality all the best deals are reserved for new customers – not existing ones.  Has your bank or cable provider ever contacted you about a new promotion that would save you money?  Meanwhile, if you’re like me, you probably get flooded with offers from their competitors trying to win your business.

This was made abundantly clear to me over the past week as we switched cable providers for the first time in 14 years.  Telus has been aggressively promoting its Optik TV service and making huge in-roads against its main rival, Shaw Cable.

Related: Read this fascinating report on how Shaw bet big on WiFi in their battle for Western Canada

The offer is compelling.  Sign up for Optik TV and Internet for three years and get:

  • A free 42” LG Smart TV
  • A free PVR and two free digital boxes
  • Six months free HBO/Movie package

Even though I was a long-time Bell customer I always had an older model receiver or digital box – no PVR or anything fancy.  To get the latest HD PVR from Bell would cost $499, or $15 per month for 60 months!  With this deal, Telus offered three new boxes for free – plus the 42” Smart TV that was valued at $899.  Signing a three-year contract wasn’t a big deal for us – remember we were with Bell for 14 years previously.

Related: How I saved over $300 on my cable and internet

With Optik, I found the number of channels and access to On-Demand programming to be far superior to what we got with Bell TV, and for around the same price.  There was just one catch – we were already Telus Internet customers and unable to qualify for this promotion.

However, if I’ve learned anything from writing and researching personal finance articles it’s that you’ll never get anything if you don’t ask.  I had nothing to lose – even though I wanted the free TV and upgraded equipment I would have been fine to stay with Bell if Telus had said no.

Eager to get our business, the Telus representative agreed to give us the deal even though we were already Internet customers.  They sent a technician to install everything last week and we expect the new TV to arrive in 3-4 weeks.

Final thoughts

Usually it takes a major problem for us to even consider switching service providers.  In this case, even though we were reluctant to switch, we’re happy we took advantage of this offer.  The hassle factor was minimal, we got a free TV that we had planned to buy within a year anyway, and we’ll save money on our bill for the next six months.

Before I called Telus I went to the Bell website and clicked on the “Promotions” tab just to see if they had any offers available for a long-time, loyal customer.  This message sums up how loyal customers get screwed while new customers get all the perks:

Bell: No Promo

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28 Comments

  1. Mark O'Neill on March 10, 2014 at 5:08 am

    Oh so true. We recently cancelled a trio of Bell services (phone/internet/FibTeV) because we were moving to another province. Within days we were getting calls from Bell offering us all kinds of great discounts. Only wish we’d known this earlier because we would have saved hundreds of dollars by threatening to switch to a competitor.

  2. DIANE on March 10, 2014 at 5:32 am

    I don t think Bell has great promotions.

    I was getting a high computer bill. why you ask,
    I was registered for FIBE 10 which allows for a lot more downloads which I never used. I don’t download movies, and so I was told I did not need this FIBE 10
    The young girl helping was honest. THERE ARE DIFFERENT FIBE LEVELS SO MAKE SURE YOU ASK
    She lowered me to FIBE 5 and I saved about 5 dollars a month . ITS BETTER than a kick in the you know where.
    Explaining why you use the computer helps. I only use my computer for emails and internet. I don t download movie

  3. Financial Uproar on March 10, 2014 at 6:06 am

    I made it a habit to phone Telus every six months and tell them I saw Shaw had some sort of deal for new customers to move their phone or internet over, and threaten to leave. I always got some sort of discount, and it would only take a few minutes.

    I did once have to go all the way to the retention department to get them to match, but I saved more than $100 over 6 months.

    I know we’re all polite Canadians, but seriously, do this. You’ll make more per hour than working.

  4. Dan @ Our Big Fat Wallet on March 10, 2014 at 6:27 am

    I have been meaning to call Shaw for a while now as I noticed our bill has increased again. We have been hesitant to switch because we are already getting a good deal but with their rate increases the savings become smaller and smaller. Does Telus require a three year contract for all new customers?

    • Echo on March 10, 2014 at 6:50 am

      @Dan – For this promotion, because you’re getting a TV and the three new digital boxes, they require a three-year commitment. I don’t really see an issue unless you plan to move somewhere where Telus doesn’t operate.

  5. My Own Advisor on March 10, 2014 at 6:28 am

    I’m with Nelson, I’ve got dates circled in my calendar when I need to call Rogers. I have to negotiate my TV, cable and internet soon.

    What you don’t ask for, you don’t get. Good on you!

    Mark

  6. Ron on March 10, 2014 at 7:13 am

    The article has incorrect info. Instead of $15 per month for 60 months for the latest Bell PVR, it should read $13.86 +tax for 36 months. That is $335 less than cited.
    (A loyal Bell customer)

    • Echo on March 10, 2014 at 7:26 am

      @Ron – When I go to the Bell website and click “Add a Receiver” I see the HD PVR Receiver for purchase at $499 or the rental plan at $15 per month. Details on the rental plan state that you get to keep the receiver for free after 60 months, but if you cancel before then you’ll have to return the receiver.

      • Ron on March 10, 2014 at 7:51 am

        On my Bell bill right now, I am on week 26 of 36 at $13.86 monthly for their best PVR. I guess why the difference needs to be checked out.
        I also want to make the point that with bundling for Telephone, Satellite TV, Internet and Cell phones, the cost per service becomes more reasonable. Price and dependability with Bell work for me.

    • jeff on May 1, 2015 at 11:25 pm

      60 months – that’s a looooooong time

  7. BetCrooks on March 10, 2014 at 8:19 am

    On behalf of my Telus dividend, thank you for making this decision. : )

  8. Mick on March 10, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Good post.
    I called last year to switch to Telus, they actually offer a discount on top of the freebies if you bundle phone, internet and TV. 5 bucks a month off or something like that.
    The tech came, but the satellites are lower for Telus so we would have to cut lots of trees down. So we didn’t in the end but gonna try again here soon, might have to do some logging

  9. joey on March 10, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Loyalty strategy in the telecoms is at best match what the competition is offering if customer is threatening to leave. There is nothing proactive about their service. Then again, in an oligopoly, there is no incentive to improve service, only to maintain profits.

    15 years, and how many $1000’s to your telecom for an incredibly low variable cost?

    I don’t like ranting in comments, but the telecoms/oligopolistic behaviour (where realistically the customer has very low market power) makes my blood boil.

    End rant.

  10. Elle on March 10, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    I know what you mean. I’ve threatened twice to switch my internet from Bell to someone else. They always give me a 1-year discount, which works out well. But I’m really tired of always having to negotiate that (that and the tired sighs of the person on the other end of the line: “of course you want to switch – you just finished your last round of discounts.”)

    I would love to just have a straightforward, low price.

  11. Money Saving on March 12, 2014 at 8:28 am

    Wow ! That’s a pretty good deal to switch. I also hate having to call back each year to re-negotiate my old rate. It really is BS…

  12. Joy on March 12, 2014 at 9:17 am

    We regularly call Rogers and threaten to switch in order to get discounts. Works every time. Now, we’re in the process of switching to OTA antenna and TekSavvy. We’re going to save, on average, around $90 a month, just by taking the time and effort to switch. That’s over a $1000 a year more in our pockets!

  13. Stephen @ HowToSaveMoney.ca on March 12, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    I’d like to take issue with all the comments that are recommending bundling your services. In a few rare cases, bundling can save you money but almost always you are better off to avoid contracts as much as possible and research each service individually to save the most money. One company will often have the best/cheapest internet while another while give you the best cell phone package. Often times bundling services involves signing a contract that you may not need to sign with individual services as well so be careful of that.

    For me, it is a little more difficult because I only pay for internet service as we stream all our TV legally online via our many devices and HTPCs. In my area BellAliant offers the fastest internet service (by far), at the cheapest price, with no download caps and no contracts. Rogers is finally starting to catch up a little raising their cap to 500GB, upping their speed some, dropping contracts, and guaranteeing low prices for long periods of time (3 to 8 years).

    However, none of that has been enough to get me to switch because they’re always behind the curve. I still call BellAliant once a year to negotiate $10-$20 off my bill for being a long-time customer. They aren’t willing to deal that much because I don’t have a ton of services with them and competition is lax, which is understandable.

    I think the 3 year contract you signed is actually worth it. I did the same thing and signed a 2 year agreement with when Rogers finally brought it to Atlantic Canada. They had a much better introductory offer that had more of everything (especially data) for at least $10 cheaper per month along with a good price on a high end smartphone. It was just before everyone raised prices on plans and phones across the board because of 2 year contracts 2. I got a 3 year contract deal on a 2 year contract so all that combined made me sign on the dotted line.

    • Echo on March 12, 2014 at 2:17 pm

      @Stephen – the nice thing here in Alberta is that we don’t have caps on internet usage. Makes the decision on who to choose mostly come down to price & freebies.

      • The Passive Income Earner on March 18, 2014 at 1:09 pm

        Are you sure you don’t hav caps? A quick look at Telus and Shaw and you have the same caps we have in BC for downloads.

        I am with Shaw and switching to Telus would be slightly more expensive for the same service I have with the exception of the free bonus.

        I don’t find it enough to change and go through the trouble … ShawOpen is nice with Free WiFi in many areas and auto-connecting. That was a smart move by Shaw.

        • Echo on March 18, 2014 at 2:36 pm

          As far as I know they have never charged for any overage, but they do have a policy and are tracking usage and actively sending out letters to households using over 200 Gigs per month.

  14. Stephen @ HowToSaveMoney.ca on March 12, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    * I meant to say “with FIDO when Rogers finally brought it to Atlantic Canada”

  15. Underground Woman on March 13, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    We found when switching from Rogers, where we were a long-time customer, to Teksavvy for our internet service that Rogers was willing to offer just about anything to keep our account. 80% off the highest speed and data cap package? No problem! Sadly for them it was too late, and we had already planned and committed for the change. If only these companies recognized and rewarded loyalty.

  16. Jon Evan on March 15, 2014 at 10:35 am

    I’m in the greater Vancouver area and a Shaw customer. I own Telus stock but not Shaw and so it might make sense to switch. However, the wifi hotspot bet by Shaw is paying off here in the Vancouver area. I’ve been able to ditch my Telus cellphone because my ipad can pickup free Shaw wifi nearly everywhere in my area. In my work I can get free Shaw wifi. Using a ipad texting app I can communicate easily for free so my cellphone was not needed. It’s an interesting situation that if you are a Shaw customer you get access to Shaw wifi hotspots throughout the greater Vancouver area making cellular plans unnecessary. Something to consider perhaps.

  17. Peter @ SeekingWealth.ca on June 17, 2014 at 5:06 am

    The telecom companies want you to bundle your services because it becomes harder (and more annoying) for you to switch them all rather than just one. Avoid contracts and simply call retentions and re-negotiate as often as possible.

  18. Brad on January 19, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    Telus did the same for me. I was an internet/optik customer paying month to month. I called telus and implied that i was going to seriously downgrade my Optik and just keep the internet unless they could give me a good deal. I suggested their current promotion and they transfered me to customer loyalty and I got hooked up on a plan that now saved me $40 and I got the free laptop. Also at the end of my cell contracts they always call with 6 months to go and wave the remaining balance to sign me back up for a new one.

    • Bob on April 11, 2015 at 4:47 pm

      I’m currently where you were at paying month to month for Optic – I have everything with Telus including home phone, internet, iphone. I’m going to give your efforts with Telus a shot thank’s for the info.

  19. Marlene on March 19, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    I was one of Bell’s first customers in Alberta for satellite TV, paid hundreds of dollars to get it, always owned my own receivers & had the most expensive package. When I called last year to see about upgrading to HD and getting a PVR, I was transferred to the “Loyalty Department” where an extremely rude man actually yelled at me and told me that I shouldn’t expect something for nothing! I tried to calm him down & explained that I just wanted to see what Bell could offer me , but he started yelling again so I told him to cancel my service & hung up. I then called Telus . They gave me an HD PVR, 2 HD receivers, a new dish, free installation, 1/2 off the Ultimate package for a year, a $150.00 bill credit and $5 a month off my bill for bundling! I did have to take a 3 year contract but I’m fine with that. They are also very good at phone support if we ever have a problem. Very happy I switched!
    I sent Bell an email complaint but they never addressed it except to send me an email telling me that I complained the wrong way!

  20. Gord on June 14, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    We have a new fiber optic cable provider in town, who offers among other things, basic phone service at about 60% of what I pay Telus. I have had phone, highspeed and cell with Telus for many years. So I phoned Telus to see what they would do for me. No argument or much discussion and they lowered my phone bill by more than 50%. You just need to call them apparently.

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