Help me haggle with my cable provider

InstaFace

MDLzera
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
15,012
Pittsburgh, PA
So I use Comcast Xfinity, just for internet. My one goal is, pay the least amount possible. Had a $35/month introductory rate they were giving me for a year, but a few months that went to a $55/m plan, all just for the lowest level of internet they're willing to publicly advertise. Does anyone have advice on the best way to haggle them down?

Back when we lived in NYC, I had managed to get myself a 4mb down / 1 up plan for $15 / month from Time Warner Cable (sorry, "Spectrum"), and that was plenty enough to stream medium-def Netflix, Youtube, etc, whatever I needed. They sent me all sorts of offers and letters to upsell, and I ignored them and paid a pittance and it was great. But to get that, at some point I had to call and ask for a special service type, one they don't publish, that's just for cheapos like me. And I have no idea if the equivalent exists for Comcast. I know there's a low-income program for like people who are on food stamps, but that's not me.

Ordinarily I'd just call them up and say I'm canceling to see what offers they give me to stay, except nobody fucking cancels internet today, especially not in 2020, so I assume I'm not going to get the best deal. I just don't have a credible threat. What am i going to say, that I'm just going to tether on my phone? FIOS doesn't run out here, nor AT&T, there are no other ISPs worth the name, they're the only game in town and they know it. So what do I go with? "I lost my job and have to cut expenses"? And I don't even know what's in the realm of the possible with the retention department, like if they have a lower-cost package they don't publish, just for my type of asshole.

All advice appreciated.

also:
- Yes, there are articles out there, I've read them. They all have competitive services to counter with, and usually are haggling over particular channel lineups and packages. That's not me.
- I place very little value on getting bandwidth north of about 10mbps. I'd place a small value on additional upstream, because I sometimes move big datafiles for work, but that value would be small.
 

gtmtnbiker

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
906
Are you sure there's no other ISP in your area that you could go to such as T-mobile 5G or something similar?

I think the best way to get a better deal is to go through the act of canceling but be prepared to follow through on it.

Do you have a spouse or roommate? You could sign up for new service under their name if they don't give you a better deal. Have you checked the website to see what kind of deals they give for new customers?

The other thing that you could try is to say that you're not happy with the rate and that you see deal X for new customers. They'll give you a deal similar to it (but not as good) but you have to sign a contract for Y years.
 

The_Powa_of_Seiji_Ozawa

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 9, 2006
6,497
SS Botany Bay
I can't add much to what you already know. Comcast is slightly better than Spectrum for these negotiation types of situations. I would just say that if you call them and get nowhere, trying calling back and maybe a different rep will be more accommodating. But the only real card you have is to threaten to cancel, and actually schedule a shutoff date (set it for like a week or two from the date you call). Sometimes that will shake loose one last offer from them. If they call your bluff, let the cancellation date stand, give them a couple days, they might call you with an offer. But if nothing happens for the next week, then just give in and postpone your cancellation date. Maybe try again in a month.
 

amlothi

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 5, 2007
605
Cancel and sign up under another name (spouse, roommate, etc.) to get new customer deals. Rinse and repeat. We've done this repeatedly without issue. Usually just a quick phone call when the service is cut and they connect the new account. Works best if you buy your own equipment and don't rent it.
 

Couperin47

Well-Known Member
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
These days Comcast and Spectrum both know exactly what other options are available on your block. If there are none then it makes absolutely no difference what you say or threaten or do. They will not negotiate...period. If there is competition, then there will be options, otherwise forget it. Comcast is imposing a 1.2 Tb/month data cap everywhere by March 1except their most expensive unlimited options ($10 per month for each 50 Gig above the cap) and announced today that rate hikes are also coming everywhere in Dec or Jan. Ain't monopoly a wonderful thing ?
 

cgori

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 2, 2004
2,773
SF, CA
You are, in general, screwed if there is only one provider (I'd triple-check that there aren't any wireless/line-of-sight ISPs). Failing that, do the sign-up name ping-pong dance, if you can. Or think about starting a community ISP? (The possibility of this obviously depends on exactly where/what kind of location you live in)

I'm very much looking forward to FiOS availability on my block and ditching Comcast.
 

NortheasternPJ

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 16, 2004
15,373
So I use Comcast Xfinity, just for internet. My one goal is, pay the least amount possible. Had a $35/month introductory rate they were giving me for a year, but a few months that went to a $55/m plan, all just for the lowest level of internet they're willing to publicly advertise. Does anyone have advice on the best way to haggle them down?

Back when we lived in NYC, I had managed to get myself a 4mb down / 1 up plan for $15 / month from Time Warner Cable (sorry, "Spectrum"), and that was plenty enough to stream medium-def Netflix, Youtube, etc, whatever I needed. They sent me all sorts of offers and letters to upsell, and I ignored them and paid a pittance and it was great. But to get that, at some point I had to call and ask for a special service type, one they don't publish, that's just for cheapos like me. And I have no idea if the equivalent exists for Comcast. I know there's a low-income program for like people who are on food stamps, but that's not me.

Ordinarily I'd just call them up and say I'm canceling to see what offers they give me to stay, except nobody fucking cancels internet today, especially not in 2020, so I assume I'm not going to get the best deal. I just don't have a credible threat. What am i going to say, that I'm just going to tether on my phone? FIOS doesn't run out here, nor AT&T, there are no other ISPs worth the name, they're the only game in town and they know it. So what do I go with? "I lost my job and have to cut expenses"? And I don't even know what's in the realm of the possible with the retention department, like if they have a lower-cost package they don't publish, just for my type of asshole.

All advice appreciated.

also:
- Yes, there are articles out there, I've read them. They all have competitive services to counter with, and usually are haggling over particular channel lineups and packages. That's not me.
- I place very little value on getting bandwidth north of about 10mbps. I'd place a small value on additional upstream, because I sometimes move big datafiles for work, but that value would be small.
Honestly I’m not sure why they’d even want your business at that rate. I'm sure they figure if they give you a really low bandwidth, you're going to complain at some point things aren't running right. A couple support calls, maybe a trip out and they're not making anything at all or losing money.
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
15,012
Pittsburgh, PA
Thanks to everyone who's posted so far. Yes, I'm eagerly awaiting FIOS too.

Are you sure there's no other ISP in your area that you could go to such as T-mobile 5G or something similar?
There's HughesNet, a satellite provider. I dunno if it's a credible threat, but I suppose I could look at it for a 60-day period or whatever time I'd need to not be a Comcast customer in order to get the introductory deals. My wife (who is on 8 hours of zoom calls per workday) might kill me though. I did a couple "what ISPs are in my area?" search engines, and the ones they kept on coming up with included some rural ISPs that actually didn't serve me once I dug into their coverage.

Do you have a spouse or roommate? You could sign up for new service under their name if they don't give you a better deal. Have you checked the website to see what kind of deals they give for new customers?
Yeah, at this point the new-customer rate is still more than the introductory rate I got last year, but acceptably lower, and comparable to what Fios does for services in my area. Surviving that switchover is the hard question though.

The other thing that you could try is to say that you're not happy with the rate and that you see deal X for new customers. They'll give you a deal similar to it (but not as good) but you have to sign a contract for Y years.
This I could try, seems plausible. I don't mind a contract, we're not going anywhere, we own the home.

Cancel and sign up under another name (spouse, roommate, etc.) to get new customer deals. Rinse and repeat. We've done this repeatedly without issue. Usually just a quick phone call when the service is cut and they connect the new account. Works best if you buy your own equipment and don't rent it.
This seems like the fallback plan.
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
15,012
Pittsburgh, PA
Honestly I’m not sure why they’d even want your business at that rate. I'm sure they figure if they give you a really low bandwidth, you're going to complain at some point things aren't running right. A couple support calls, maybe a trip out and they're not making anything at all or losing money.
I suppose. Back in NYC with Spectrum at that $15/month I was a very low-maintenance customer, they just weren't squeezing me for all I was worth. Here, I realize that I pretty much can't pay less than $35-40/month, but Comcast's whole business plan is to give you "year 1" / "year 2" / "year 3" rates such that they get hiked every year and you have to stay on top of it. I just don't want that stress. Maybe I'll juggle until such time as Verizon lays fiber out here - they don't play those games, right? Just one rate forever?
 

NortheasternPJ

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 16, 2004
15,373
I suppose. Back in NYC with Spectrum at that $15/month I was a very low-maintenance customer, they just weren't squeezing me for all I was worth. Here, I realize that I pretty much can't pay less than $35-40/month, but Comcast's whole business plan is to give you "year 1" / "year 2" / "year 3" rates such that they get hiked every year and you have to stay on top of it. I just don't want that stress. Maybe I'll juggle until such time as Verizon lays fiber out here - they don't play those games, right? Just one rate forever?
Call retention and offer to do a 2 year contract at $35 or whatever they’ll budge down to?
 

Time to Mo Vaughn

RIP Dernell
SoSH Member
Mar 24, 2008
4,967
It seems like your and your wife's job are pretty dependent on internet service. Have you considered actually paying the cost for the lowest tier service? You've already wasted more time fighting it.
 

canderson

Mr. Brightside
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
28,006
Harrisburg, Pa.

kelpapa

Costanza's Hero
SoSH Member
Feb 15, 2010
3,716
Hughes net was complete dog shit when I got it at a few of our sites in remote areas. That was several years ago and we switched to 3g cards that were better.
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
15,012
Pittsburgh, PA
It seems like your and your wife's job are pretty dependent on internet service. Have you considered actually paying the cost for the lowest tier service? You've already wasted more time fighting it.
I have an emotional aversion to feelings of getting nickle-and-dimed, or that someone is trying to put one over on me. If the rate was $X forever (but they'll keep trying to upsell me), I wouldn't be here. It's the idea that it's $35 last year, $55 today, $78 a year from now, and unless at some point I bother trying to fight them, they'll just soak me like a sucker... that's what I have a hard time with, and why I'll spend some time on it. Plus, $40 / month is almost $500 a year, that's worth some of my time I think.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 26, 2005
21,840
I have an emotional aversion to feelings of getting nickle-and-dimed, or that someone is trying to put one over on me. If the rate was $X forever (but they'll keep trying to upsell me), I wouldn't be here. It's the idea that it's $35 last year, $55 today, $78 a year from now, and unless at some point I bother trying to fight them, they'll just soak me like a sucker... that's what I have a hard time with, and why I'll spend some time on it. Plus, $40 / month is almost $500 a year, that's worth some of my time I think.
I think most of us have an emotional aversion to be taken advantage of but sometimes you're the windshield and sometimes you're the bug. Without a credible alternative, I think they are going to call your bluff. Hopefully one of these days hotspot technology will be as reliable and more cost-effective than Comcast but my last look at these things did not find anything that I'd want to try. P.S. I'm in the same boat as you are.