Cheaper Cable television? Try Asking for It.

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Cheaper Cable television? Try Asking for It.

Postby nvboglehead » Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:17 am

Here is a link to an interesting article in today's Wall Street Journal: "Customers Say to Cable Firms, 'Let's Make a Deal' "

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203479104577124494272500550.html?mod=WSJ_hp_MIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsSecond

We recently complained to Directv about the high bill, and they gave us an ongoing, monthly, $20 credit. Our two year contract is coming to an end in February, and we are going to be shopping around for a better deal with Dish Network. Besides cutting the cord, which is something that we don't want to do, what experiences have Bogleheads had in lowering the cost of cable/satellite?

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Postby PaddyMac » Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:24 am

I saw in the local paper that Direct TV was touting "free HD access" for new customers. So I called them and they dropped the stupid $10 a month charge they had for HD access. It's for 24 mths but good luck trying to charge it in 2 yrs time when all TV will be HD.
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Postby sunnyday » Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:27 am

Yep, same experience here. Pretty much everything is negotiable. Companies don't want to lose customers, especially with the current economy. Why stop with just cable? Next try phone, internet, home insurance, car insurance, etc
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Postby Boglenaut » Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:08 am

I've negotiated a lower rate with my cable company for about 3 years now. I need to call once a year or so.
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Postby MWCA » Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:58 am

Yeah it works. The art of negotiating seems to be dwindling through the ages.
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Postby Colorado13 » Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:40 am

I tried to negotiate cheaper cell phone rates earlier this week with Verizon. I tried this online and in person at the store with no luck. So, I will be checking out options for cheaper phone service. My Comcast internet + basic cable is $30/month so I'm pretty happy with that.
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Postby ejvyas » Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:04 pm

Colorado13 wrote:I tried to negotiate cheaper cell phone rates earlier this week with Verizon. I tried this online and in person at the store with no luck. So, I will be checking out options for cheaper phone service. My Comcast internet + basic cable is $30/month so I'm pretty happy with that.

+1

comcast basic cable + internet = $30. I also have an antenna that can get free to air HD. Rest of the shows I catch on the internet by connecting laptop to TV
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Postby porcupine » Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:20 pm

ejvyas wrote:
Colorado13 wrote:I tried to negotiate cheaper cell phone rates earlier this week with Verizon. I tried this online and in person at the store with no luck. So, I will be checking out options for cheaper phone service. My Comcast internet + basic cable is $30/month so I'm pretty happy with that.

+1

comcast basic cable + internet = $30. I also have an antenna that can get free to air HD. Rest of the shows I catch on the internet by connecting laptop to TV

Wow! I pay $70 and Bright House never reduces it, even when I call and ask :-(. Oh well ...

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Postby tj218 » Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:28 pm

I negotiated with DirecTV (DTV) to get my $95 /mo bill down to $38/mo.

They switched us to the Family Plan, which isn't advertised but is the cheapest plan they offer ($29 /mo) and gave us a $10 /mo credit for the next year. We really only use DTV for locals (living in a rural, mountainous area) and Nick Jr. Anything else we watch through Netflix.

If we could get locals OTA I would ditch DTV in a heartbeat.
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Postby MidnightX » Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:59 pm

I also was able to get an unadvertised price from DishNetwork that includes HD. My cost went from $67.46/mo. to a total of $22.14/mo. I called DishNetwork to let them know I was changing to Verizon FIOS and wanted to find out the procedure for cancelling. I told them I really liked their service, but FIOS included the triple play and asked them if they had a competitive package the included cable/phone/internet. I was prepared and gave them the Verizon FIOS cost. That's when they told me about the unadvertised "welcome pack" price. I absolutely see no change in the programming since I don't watch much tv, although I know there are some channels that I no longer get. I also get Starz that was given to all subscribers probably for a year for their 30th anniversary. Each month they have free preview channels that includes premium channels. I record shows during those times so I always have plenty of recorded movies available to me.
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Postby momar » Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:07 pm

I've been waiting for the NFL season to end so I can turn off DirecTV and go with Comcast, or maybe even just figure out 1 or 2 streaming/DVD rental services to go with.

I tried an antenna, but there was no reception where I live. Guess I need a big ol' roof mount.

Nevertheless, I don't like seeing this story. When stuff like this gets out, everyone starts calling to "negotiate" and suddenly they put a stop to it. It used to be that you could get a steep discount on Sunday Ticket by threatening to quit, but they put a stop to it. I guess small discounts can still be had, but not like before.
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Postby kuttolas » Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:12 pm

I was pleasantly surprised, when I found out that you can bargain at HHGreg (consumer electronics store). I bought a blue ray player and 7 piece speaker system. All these years I was used paying the sticker price at consumer electronic stores. Funny thing is, I would not have known this, unless the sales guy himself had not mentioned that he was willing to reduce the price.
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Postby bru » Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:21 pm

I get a $35/month discount on cable/internet and also an extra box that would cost $7/month. The box discount will expire soon, not sure if they will renew it. And I have to negotiate the monthly discount every year. They have already told me I am getting more than they typically give.

Without those discounts I would easily be paying three figures a month, which would be too much to shoulder.
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Postby magicmom » Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:24 pm

cable comcast $10 a month, netflix via roku $8.00 enought tv for me :D
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Postby Balance » Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:34 pm

I recently tried to negotiate with Comcast to lower our bill. My brother lives in the same city as I do and has the same service but pays $40 less than I do. (For the triple play, internet, phone and cable) I pay $200 per month and my brother pays $160. I tried to point this out and they escalated it to the manager. I threatened to cut the service and they did not budge at all. They didn't even make me any sort of offer. So I ended up going with Direct TV. It worked out since the NFL was just starting and I got Sunday Ticket for free. But the point is that not all negotiations work out well with these companies.
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Postby Tom_T » Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:59 pm

I have done this a number of times with Comcast. But, it's not easy. Different sales reps will give me different prices, so I have to call back more than once. This is completely anecdotal, but I find that the male reps are not very interested in dealing. Maybe it's the competitive gene, who knows. And, the threat to cancel means nothing unless you are willing to go through with it, as in pressing the button to cancel.

Last year, I eventually ended up speaking with a nice lady who was happy to extend my previous-year's discount for another year. It was just like talking with Mom. :)

Also, even if they offer a discount, ask if they've got something better. It's kind of like booking a hotel room: the first offer isn't necessarily the best offer.

P.S. I just received an unsolicited letter from Comcast saying that my promotional rate was about to end, but because times are tough, they are going to extend my promotion for another six months. And I didn't even have to call them! Maybe I should call and see if they can do better.
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Postby jridger2011 » Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:29 pm

Has anyone attempted this with Time Warner? My bill goes up $2-$3 per year without fail for services that do not quite improve.
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Postby stan1 » Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:54 pm

We've called several times to try to get Time Warner to negotiate.
Every time they tell us that the cost is what it is, and they do not negotiate.
Neighbors have not had success either.

AT&T uVerse is unreliable in our neighborhood. Everyone who had has tried it has switched back to cable.

Maybe they would be more inclined to negotiate in a market with Verizon FIOS?
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Postby FrugalInvestor » Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:59 pm

We usually leave for 1+ month per year so we cancel our (regional) cable and sign back up when we return on the new customer deal which saves us about $30 per month.
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Postby BlueEars » Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:08 pm

Tom_T wrote:I have done this a number of times with Comcast. But, it's not easy. Different sales reps will give me different prices, so I have to call back more than once. This is completely anecdotal, but I find that the male reps are not very interested in dealing. Maybe it's the competitive gene, who knows. And, the threat to cancel means nothing unless you are willing to go through with it, as in pressing the button to cancel.

Last year, I eventually ended up speaking with a nice lady who was happy to extend my previous-year's discount for another year. It was just like talking with Mom. :) ...

Good comments here. I'll try Comcast again to see if I can beat down that $91 deal (has HD recorder in it). I'll try to get a sweet lady on the line.

Maybe I should say that I'm experiencing hard times? After all my equities didn't do well this year. :wink:
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Postby jridger2011 » Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:15 pm

stan1 wrote:We've called several times to try to get Time Warner to negotiate.
Every time they tell us that the cost is what it is, and they do not negotiate.
Neighbors have not had success either.

AT&T uVerse is unreliable in our neighborhood. Everyone who had has tried it has switched back to cable.

Maybe they would be more inclined to negotiate in a market with Verizon FIOS?


I figured as much, that's why I wondered if anyone was successful. TWC is pretty stingy and those notices for price increases bug me since they come yearly instead of every 2 years.
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Postby saied45 » Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:18 pm

you guys should try getting fios if its avaliable. its 89 dollars a month for tv phone and internet and their service is much better than comcast.
or you could call comcast, threaten that you will get fios and they will give you at least the phone for free. thats what happened to my friend
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Postby BlueEars » Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:58 pm

Called up and got nice lady on the line. She reduced our Comcast bill by $17/mo (for 12 months) after the initial reduction of $29/mo (for 3 months) and gave us a premium channel package too.

Thanks for all the suggestions here!
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Postby stan1 » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:16 pm

jridger2011 wrote:
stan1 wrote:We've called several times to try to get Time Warner to negotiate.
Every time they tell us that the cost is what it is, and they do not negotiate.
Neighbors have not had success either.

AT&T uVerse is unreliable in our neighborhood. Everyone who had has tried it has switched back to cable.

Maybe they would be more inclined to negotiate in a market with Verizon FIOS?


I figured as much, that's why I wondered if anyone was successful. TWC is pretty stingy and those notices for price increases bug me since they come yearly instead of every 2 years.


Doesn't hurt to try. We are in San Diego. May be different somewhere else.
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Postby nonnie » Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:10 pm

Les wrote:Called up and got nice lady on the line. She reduced our Comcast bill by $17/mo (for 12 months) after the initial reduction of $29/mo (for 3 months) and gave us a premium channel package too.

Thanks for all the suggestions here!



Good for you. For others, if at first you don't succeed, ask to be connected to "customer retention." If you threaten to stop service-- be prepared to follow through-- some reps nearly "make" you do it.

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Postby nonnie » Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:15 pm

Colorado13 wrote:I tried to negotiate cheaper cell phone rates earlier this week with Verizon. I tried this online and in person at the store with no luck. So, I will be checking out options for cheaper phone service. My Comcast internet + basic cable is $30/month so I'm pretty happy with that.


I don't think Verizon *ever* negotiates cell phone rates other than to change plans. However, they will negotiate the upgrade period which is generally two eyars. If you're within three to four months of that and have a good story/reason, I've been able to get them (for others) to allow an early upgrade.

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Postby c00kie » Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:23 pm

Does anyone use WOW? I'm in Chicago and have hear they are the best cable company for service.
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Postby likegarden » Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:35 pm

I am with Time Warner and got a reduction in their 3 in 1 of digital cable+phone via cable+broadband internet from $175 to 150/month, still insanely expensive, by asking in their local shop. (we only use Tracfone cells) There should be more reductions in the future. The Verizon plans were less expensive only in the first year. I did not explore dish networks, perhaps next year, when my reduction possibly runs out.
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Postby cacophony » Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:06 pm

Colorado13 wrote:comcast basic cable + internet = $30. I also have an antenna that can get free to air HD. Rest of the shows I catch on the internet by connecting laptop to TV


+2 for basic cable + internet.

And basic cable typically includes over the air HD broadcasts (FCC may even require this), so no need for an antenna.

I've always been able to knock a large percentage off my Comcast bill by calling and negotiating.
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Postby zinnia » Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:59 pm

my son negotiates the price of the Sunday ticket in half every year with DTV
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Postby eschaef » Thu Dec 29, 2011 11:56 pm

Tried twice last year to negotiate with Cablevision because my bill was climbing higher and higher. All of their offers actually INCREASED my monthly bill. ("But you'll have access to SO much! Blah, blah...) It irked me that I was being forced into paying for a landline that I neither wanted nor needed. Without the phone, you lose the discount and it's more expensive than the bundle. Threats to switch meant nothing to them. So I left.

I switched to FIOS and have been generally happy (and paying much less) since. I even have Showtime so I can watch Dexter. I'm even happier now since they FINALLY have access to the MSG network in HD! (Thank you, FCC, for finally twisting the arm of Cablevision/MSG Inc. enough on that one...)
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Postby stemikger » Fri Dec 30, 2011 6:04 am

I didn't read all the replies yet, but here is what happened to me last year. I knew I was going to discontinue my directtv service so I called them up. I explained I was having financial dfficulity and they said they will give me 3 months free. I accepted their offer but did explain that after 3 months I will still most-likely discontinue the service. After 3 months I called back, they gave me 3 more months and explained the same thing to them. Long story short I got 9 months of free directtv before they stopped giving me the service for free.

I now have free tv thanks to an antenna on my roof and a ROKU box with Netflix and Amaon Prime. Well not exactley free, I pay $7.99 for Netflix and $79 a year for Prime.

It is better than paying DirectTV over $100 per month.
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Postby Zeppcoustic » Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:36 am

I negotiated with Time Warner here in NYC and pay around $72 a month now for their fastest internet/basic cable with HD box. I think this is about $30 a month savings.
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Postby magicmom » Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:42 pm

I got my reduction by calling the local number not comcasts toll free number.
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Postby ilmartello » Fri Dec 30, 2011 4:48 pm

i've had success with time warner when you actually mention the competitor and the price they are giving ex. att uverse
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Postby jridger2011 » Fri Dec 30, 2011 7:10 pm

Just tried after seeing another rate increase this month, but no such luck on those big savings, knocked off about $10 per month for a year for TWC.
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Postby topper1296 » Fri Dec 30, 2011 7:20 pm

I just received my latest Comcast bill and it included a letter outlining their latest round of price increases to take affect in Feb. I called them to dump them around 2pm and was on hold for 5 minutes before a person came on the line to ask for my name, number, and why I was calling. I was then told they would call me back by 5pm. It is now past 5pm where I live and I never heard back from them. I'll call again tomorrow. I will consider keeping them if they cut me a deal otherwise I will switch over to rabbit ears to pick up the local stations and Hulu Plus or Amazon Prime.

Cutting the cable would probably encourage me to read more anyway. Sounds like a decent New Year's resolution to me. :D
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Postby Mudpuppy » Fri Dec 30, 2011 8:01 pm

I happen to live in a very good area to receive over-the-air signals, so I cut the cable TV subscription years ago and haven't looked back. I only wish we had more options for Internet service in town than either AT&T or cable. Neither is ideal, either in price or options for techies like me who run home servers.
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Postby dave66 » Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:58 pm

All the TV services will usually give you breaks if you act like you're going to leave, and convince them you mean it. But they usually only do it for 6 months to a year, then you gotta do it again. It gets to be a PITA. What annoys me more is the common practice by utilities now days, of always offering the better deal to the new guys. I've had the same internet provider for years. I recently realized they were giving me the lowest speed, for the same price new people get the next to top speed... Even past the one year sign up. So purposely taking advantage of your longest customers is now apparently "just business".
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Postby ilmartello » Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:41 pm

dave66 wrote:All the TV services will usually give you breaks if you act like you're going to leave, and convince them you mean it. But they usually only do it for 6 months to a year, then you gotta do it again. It gets to be a PITA. What annoys me more is the common practice by utilities now days, of always offering the better deal to the new guys. I've had the same internet provider for years. I recently realized they were giving me the lowest speed, for the same price new people get the next to top speed... Even past the one year sign up. So purposely taking advantage of your longest customers is now apparently "just business".


That seems interesting to me, I always thought in most parts of the country, if not all parts of the country, utilities are publicly owned, or their prices regulated by a utilities commission in a way that everyone gets the same rate.
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Postby dave66 » Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:58 pm

I shouldn't have used the word 'utilities'. I mainly meant TV, phone and internet.
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Postby MidnightX » Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:09 am

dave66 wrote: I've had the same internet provider for years. I recently realized they were giving me the lowest speed, for the same price new people get the next to top speed... Even past the one year sign up.


I recently asked my internet provider (Verizon) to lower my speed so that I could reduce my cost. They said instead of lowering the speed, that they would reduce my bill by $10 a month for a year. I had upgraded to a higher speed at an increased monthly cost many years ago. I now wonder if that increase in speed really happened and, since I was already at the lowest speed, they gave me the price break rather than letting me know that. Or they may have given me the discount because I had called to cancel my landline phone service since I got the new MagicJack. It turned out that it would cost me more to keep only the internet service than it would if I unbundled the internet/phone plan (I have a barebones landline plan). Sorry if this was off topic.
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Postby 1530jesup » Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:20 am

magicmom wrote:I got my reduction by calling the local number not comcasts toll free number.


a friend told me about a Comcast promo for the premium channel (Showtime, I already get HBO). I called their 800 number expecting a hassle and the rep asked if I would also like Starz and Cinemax and The Movie Channel. they are giving three months free and I guess the hook is you need to cancel to avoid a $9 a month charge after 3/31. the original info came from a NY user and I am in Florida; so I guess the offer may be system wide.

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Postby Tom_T » Sat Dec 31, 2011 7:46 am

saied45 wrote:you guys should try getting fios if its avaliable. its 89 dollars a month for tv phone and internet and their service is much better than comcast.

That is certainly debatable. Your mileage may vary, as they say.
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Postby Mudpuppy » Sat Dec 31, 2011 8:05 am

It's almost as if there's a Murphy's Law for complaining about one's ISP options online... yesterday afternoon, shortly after posting, I got a call from my current ISP (cable) trying to upsell me to the next highest package. The phone rep was not willing to negotiate the price. It was the sales script or "have a nice day". This is what happens when there's not really competition.
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Postby zzcooper123 » Sat Dec 31, 2011 8:51 am

Any advantage switching from Dish Network to Direct TV?
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Postby Investor_Josh » Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:33 pm

My Dad just made the switch to Direct TV from Time Warner. When I was back for the holidays I got a chance to experience it. It is really great, blows time warner out of the water. The interface is a lot easier to navigate and use, which is a huge plus. Also, the picture quality looks better. If Time warner wasn't included in my apt I would hop on direct tv.
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Postby nvboglehead » Sat Dec 31, 2011 1:12 pm

zzcooper123 wrote:Any advantage switching from Dish Network to Direct TV?


Yes, there is a big advantage to switching between providers. For example, when I started with Directv 22 months ago, they gave me a one year deal for $46 per month. After the year was up, they raised it to $85. I complained and asked to reduce my service for the savings. They lowered it to $65 for three months and to $70 after that, with no change in my service.

By being willing to switch to Dish soon, after my two year contract has lapsed, I am sure that I will be given a much better deal than the $70 that I am currently paying. I will report back with what deal that I end up taking in February.

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Postby nvboglehead » Thu Jan 12, 2012 7:18 pm

Well, our negotiations for cable/satellite have ended, and I reporting back what happened in our quest for the best value.

Cox Cable with expanded Digital/DVR service would be $99 per month.

CenturyLink (phone company) Prism TV would be $53 per month for 6 months and 74 per month for the last 6 months of the 1 year contract. Channel offerings are not as ample as satellite.

Directv, when told that we would be looking to go to Dish Network at end of contract, connected us to a retention specialist. He offered us the existing service for $50 per month, with a 21 month freeze in price increase during the new 24 month contract.

Dish Network offered us a more modern DVR with the 250+ channels that we want for $52 per month for first year of a 2 year contract.

We decided to go with Dish, as we want the new DVR. If not for this, we would have taken Directv's offer. The lesson learned is to shop around and let your providers know that you are willing to change.

Dale
Learn from the Bogleheads! Do you want to work for your money or have your money work for you?
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Re: Cheaper Cable television? Try Asking for It.

Postby mikep » Tue Apr 03, 2012 6:18 pm

Now that DirecTV is in a fight with local fox stations and WGN and these stations have dropped off the air, have any BH used this to their negotiating advantage to get some $$ shaved off the bill? I'm thinking about sending them an invoice for the shows cost on amazon on demand and also cost of an antenna / OTA DVR.. maybe I'll wait til americal idol is missed ..

I'm about one year into a 2 year contract so the cancellation fee would be about $240. So I probably don't have much to negotiate until my contract is up. Or do I? The price is about to go up $15/mo for the 2nd year as expected. Ouch.
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