Why I’m still paying less than you for Internet without cable
My Internet subscription just went up $10 this week, but there’s a good chance that I’m still paying far less than most people I know. $44.99 per month for an Internet subscription with 50Mbps download speed is still a great deal in many parts of the United States.
Whenever I read about people paying upwards of $60 to $90 per month for Internet just because they cut cable, it always makes me wince. I cringe a little too when I read some of the piss poor advice like, “Call your cable companies and ask what kind of deals are available.”
“What’s wrong with that?” you ask.
The problem is you just gave up control of the conversation. By asking for a deal, a well-trained customer service rep will use it to maintain control over the conversation – and you.
Does that sound over the top?
Here’s something that I ran across during my research into big telecoms and how they operate. Many companies use a variation of this 8-step chart to train customer service reps.
The best internet deals comes from negotiating
When people call their cable company to complain or seek a lower rate, they may wind up around Stage 2 or Stage 3. That’s because they are uninformed who exactly they are dealing with. A highly trained employee is on the other end of the call armed with a game plan of how to instill doubt in you, and sell you more products and services. All the while, they will say that they will try to help you save money. It’s hideously unfair.
Customers walk away thinking they got a “deal”. They just got three months of HBO for free! But those freebies could end up costing more in the long run.
Forget about freebies. You need to get to Stage 8, the maintain relationship phase, or you need to take your business elsewhere (if you can) to get an introductory rate.
How to negotiate with Comcast, Spectrum and other cable companies for the best Internet deals
Chances are you are already using a cable company to get an Internet connection at home.
You’re tethered to your current provider in more ways than one. Companies know that most people don’t want to endure the hassle of switching providers.
I sure don’t.
There’s little-to-no reason for a cable company to give you a significant, lasting discount. If you’re set on staying with your current provider, the only real way to get the best deal on Internet is to make them believe that they’re history.
The person on the other end of the phone has to believe that you already have your ISP in the rear view.
I’ve just enjoyed a year of paying $34.99 per month for Internet. That came with zero data caps. And I want you to have the same fair rates that I enjoy every month when my bill arrives in my inbox. Getting my bill is actually a pleasurable experience. It reinforces that a little work and know-how can pay dividends.
I’m saving hundreds of dollars over a two-year period. I already know that my bill will go up to $55 next year because that’s what I negotiated. Before that happens, I will have already moved on.
I will use my battle-tested methods outlined below to re-negotiate a better deal. I want you to do the same.
What I’m about to show you include some of the same techniques that I’ve shared in Cord Cutting 2017: the definitive guide and How to Get the Best Deal for Internet Without Cable.
There is a widespread assumption that the only prices available to you as a customer of Comcast, Charter Communications, Spectrum or any other big name Internet Service Provider are the ones that are advertised.
Tap into the secret rate charts retained by major telecoms by following these steps.
8 steps to the best Internet deals
1) If you want to cut cable from your bundled subscription of Internet and cable, understand that you must approach this as a total breakup with your provider. It doesn’t mean you will actually leave, but they must believe it’s the end.
2) Initiate your “break up” with your cable subscriber at the beginning of the month. Let them know that this month will be your last month, and you want to know where to return your cable box and other equipment. You’re doing at the beginning of the month so they have time to pursue you. Meanwhile, you will still have an entire month of Internet/cable service.
3) You will be asked, “What’s the problem?” Don’t mistake this for actual concern. Politely state that you don’t want cable anymore and that you’re going elsewhere for an Internet subscription. Don’t feel obligated to explain yourself. Whatever information you provide will only be used against you.
4) Ask for an introductory rate that you spied out beforehand. It can come from your current provider or a competitor. Expect to hear no for an answer. That’s fine. You’re making progress. Don’t be afraid to hang up the phone without a deal. Even if you only have one Internet service provider in your zip code, they still don’t want to lose you as a customer. Someone will call you in the next couple of days (while you still have service). Then, you can say something like, “Well, I might consider cable at another time if I can get a reasonable rate for just Internet right now.” Now, you will start hearing about some “new deals” that weren’t available before.
5) Endure some haggling. A lot of people are tempted to jump at the first price reduction thrown at them. Do NOT assume this is the best price, even when you’re told it’s the best one. It’s actually the best one that exists for the next 30 seconds. I know it sounds like an exaggeration. Check out the video in my Internet without cable guide for the proof.
6) After you get quoted a monthly rate that you’re satisfied with, then ask what your rental fees would be for a modem and router. You might chip a few more dollars off the quote you were just given. You should be using your own modem and router anyway to avoid rental fees. It also ensures you’re getting the download speeds that you’re actually paying for.
7) Make sure you ask about any taxes and fees, and what the price increase will be after your first 12 months. You want a deal that will benefit you for more than 12 months without having to enter into any kind of contract.
8) Don’t agree to anything until you’re sure you have every last detail nailed down. I like have to a pen and pad in hand with questions written out in advance to make sure I can stay on topic. When you do this, you will be surprised how much the other person on the end of the phone will try to steer you away from your mission.
What if my ISP won’t lower my rate for Internet?
Getting those unadvertised, secret rates isn’t that hard. But it does take practice. Will these techniques work for you 100 percent of the time? Maybe not. I’ve often found that it takes more than one phone call with my provider to get things nailed down exactly where I want them. The point is that you need to get out there and start practicing.
When you’re on the phone with your cable company, you may have to fight your instincts a bit. The person on the other end of the line will sound friendly enough, but understand that they are the money-makers at telecom companies.
It’s not the cigar-smoking executive in a suit that you have to worry about. You’ll never talk to him about your bill.
It’s the rank-and-file person wearing a headset that will grind through 200 more calls just like yours today.
Understand that they are trained to deal with you, and all the whiny complaints about bills. You’re essentially going to be treated like a child who can be dealt with using a handy 8-step chart.
They’re waiting for your call right now. Are you ready?
Founder and Editor of The Cord Cutting Report. Before launching the site in 2016, he worked for more than two decades as a staff writer or correspondent for a number of daily newspapers, including The Boston Globe. His enthusiasm for tech began with the Atari 2600. Follow @james_kimble