I found out my neighbor is paying $20 less per month on the exact same cable service as me! So I did some digging and found out some cable companies negotiate! Here are some quick tips for lowering your cable bill, plus a rundown of the top seven cable companies:

First, make sure you look up your competition. Remember, not every cable company is offered in your area, so look up companies by your zip code.

Second, play nice. It’s easy to get frustrated when you’re paying a higher bill for no reason. But by being friendly, the representative will be much more willing to work with you. Lastly, your cable company doesn’t want you to walk, so remember that the ball is in your court. Be firm about what you want, and don’t take the first offer they give you.

Here’s how to negotiate with these seven companies:

 

1. AT&T U-Verse

Base plan cost per month: $50/month for 12 months ($81/month for remaining 12 months)
How many channels? 145
Activation fees? None
Hardware/installation fees for one TV? None
Fine print: 24-month plan required. Monthly equipment fees included for up to two rooms. DVR service included and you’ll get HBO, Showtime, Starz, and Cinemax for three months at no charge.

How to negotiate a lower U-Verse bill: U-Verse TV is under the same AT&T umbrella as DIRECTV, so the process is very similar. Call the retention department at 1-800-288-2020 and wait until your 12 months is almost up, right before the price will jump to $81. Ask what they can do for you, and be prepared to have some competitor information on hand.

 

2. Time Warner Cable

Base plan cost per month: $50/month for 12 months
How many channels? 70
Activation fees? Additional charges may apply
Hardware/installation fees for one TV? A free self-install kit is included
Fine print: No contract required, $50/month for 12 months. After 12 months, the retail rate applies.

How to negotiate a lower Time Warner Cable bill: Call Time Warner Cable’s customer service department at 1-800-892-4357. Ask to speak with cancellation and you will get transferred to retention. Tell them that your monthly bill is too high for the amount of channels you’re getting (compare your plan to Comcast or DIRECTV). They will most likely offer more channels or a better package as a bundle (with Internet or phone). If you’re satisfied with the channels you get, try aiming to get your monthly bill lowered. We’ve seen people get up to $15 off their monthly bill!

 

3. DIRECTV

Base plan cost per month: $50/month for 12 months. (Goes up to $81/month after one year.)
How many channels? 145
Activation fees? All fees included with the one TV plan.
Hardware/installation fees for one TV? Included
Fine print: Requires a 24-month contract, so your first year will be $50/month. Second year will be $81/month. Also note while you’re checking out, you’ll have to remove the add-on packages if you don’t want them. The current offer is for the first three months of HBO, Showtime, Cinemax and Starz free, but notice how they’re charging you in advance for the rest of the year, and decide if you’re cool with that or not.

How to negotiate a lower DIRECTV bill: Wait until your first year is up and your payment is increased to $81/month. Call the retention department at 1-800-531-5000 to cancel your service. Your best bet is to compare DIRECTV to DISH Network as they’re both similar. If DISH is offering a better deal (like you’ll see below), tell the representative to see what they can do for you.

 

4. DISH Network

Base plan cost per month: $55/month
How many channels? 190
Activation fees? Not included
Hardware/installation fees for one TV? Equipment excluded, installation fee can be waived if enrolled in Cable One Easy Pay program
Fine print: Two-year contract with early termination fee and you must be enrolled in eAutoPay.

How to negotiate a lower DISH bill: If you’re going to negotiate your bill with DISH, you should definitely use their live chat feature on their website. All I had to do was ask about a package, and I qualified for free installation, free activation and free DVR service! The customer service representative said she would throw in freebies for me as well. You can also use DIRECTV as fuel to get a cheaper bill.

 

 

5. Comcast XFINITY

Base plan cost per month: $50/month for 12 months. (Goes up to $68.95/month after one year.)
How many channels? 140
Activation fees? All fees included with the one TV plan.
Hardware/installation fees for one TV? Included
Fine print: 12-month contract at $50/month. You must be enrolled in automatic payments and paperless billing to receive this rate. If you opt out or cancel either of these, your monthly rate will go up $10. The rate will change to the regular rate ($68.95/month) after 12 months and is subject to change.

How to negotiate a lower XFINITY bill: Compare your current plan and rate with your competitors (in this article). Once you’ve identified the company that you can get a lower rate from, call Comcast customer service at 1-800-934-6489 and tell them you want to cancel. When they transfer you to cancellation, you’ll most likely get put on the phone with the customer retention department where they try to get you to stay as a customer. Tell them what you can get by going to X company and be firm. We did this and got $10 off our monthly bill!

 

6. WOW!

Base plan cost per month: $40/month for 12 months
How many channels? 25
Activation fees? None
Hardware/installation fees for one TV? $20 installation fee
Fine print: 12-month plan with a 30-day guarantee. Early termination fee of $165 if you cancel; this fee reduces $15 each month.

How to negotiate a lower WOW! bill: Lowering your monthly plan with WOW! may be the easiest out of all cable companies. Since they charge $40 for only 25 channels (yikes!) you definitely have negotiating power. Call customer service at 866-496-9669 and ask to speak with cancellation. You have two different options here: since $40 is the lowest out of all of these base plans, you can try to get more channels and stick with this rate. Or, if you’re happy with 25 channels, you can ask to get your rate significantly reduced. Compare rates with the bigger companies mentioned above that offer 7x the amount of channels for basically the same price you’re paying now.

 

7. Cable One

Base plan cost per month: $72/month
How many channels? 100
Activation fees? Not included
Hardware/installation fees for one TV? Equipment excluded, installation fee can be waived if enrolled in Cable One Easy Pay program
Fine print: No contract required, 30-day money-back guarantee.

How to negotiate a lower Cable One bill: Being that Cable One is one of the pricier options for a smaller amount of channels, you shouldn’t have issue with calling up customer service and comparing to one of the cable companies above. Call customer service at 1-877-692-2253 and use the higher monthly price and the smaller amount of channels to your advantage. (Note: Cable One has a reputation for not negotiating, so your mileage may vary.)

 

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How to Negotiate Your Cable Bill with These 7 Companies