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Recently, my grandfather was paying almost $200/month to his service provider for cable, internet, and home phone service. Most of this cost was due to the fact that he had a basic cable package and a movie channel package that included HBO, Encore, and Starz. When we first discussed his bill about six months back, it was $150/month. Two months later it had risen to $170/month, and two months later it had risen again to $190/month. For no reason at all, the base charge for his cable service continued to rise by a steady $10/month until he was tired of it.
It’s nice to have cable, especially when you have 200+ channels and can watch whatever you want whenever you want, but be honest with yourself when you’re evaluating the situation. How many of those channels do you truly watch? If some channels weren’t part of the basic package, would you pay more for them or could you easily do without? If television wasn’t part of your life, would you spend that time sitting around wishing you had television or would you do something else? Is it important enough to spend what you’re spending? The companies can say whatever they’d like, but the truth is that you’re not paying what your neighbor is paying, whether you’ve got the same service provider and services or not. My grandfather’s bill kept going up incrementally every month simply because they wanted to see how much they could get before he finally called in.
My grandpa gave me authorization to make changes to his account and I called the cable company. I explained to them that there was no reason given for the changes to his bill that had been happening every month and that, being his tech savvy grandson, I had already done him a service and bought his equipment for him. We had gone out and picked up a modem, so there was no need for the $7/month charge for that. Also, he was going to set up a digital antenna, so the cable service was no longer needed. That alone would cut out a whopping $155/month.
“Well sir,” the first man I spoke to said, “I’m authorized to give you everything you’ve got now for a rate of $84.95 a month if you keep your current services.”
“No,” I said, “you should have already been doing that for him if you can do it.”
“Okay, well I’m not authorized to make any changes to the account in this way, so I’ll have to forward you to someone who is.”
I was annoyed. The man who just told me he could literally cut the bill to less than half had just told me that he was not authorized to make changes to the account. I thought it was laughable, but whatever, so I had him forward me. The next person that picked up the phone was a woman and I told her what we were looking to accomplish with the removal of services.
“Well,” she said after some beating around the bush, “if you stick with your current plan we can give you a very generous rate of $99.95 a month. I’m authorized to make that change now for your next monthly installment if you’d like.”
“No, thanks,” I said, “I’d just like to get the services removed and to know the charge for remaining services that will be on the next bill.”
“I’m sorry, sir, but I’m not authorized to actually remove any services from your account, but I can forward you to someone who is.”
“Please do that,” I said. I have always known that service providers often make it difficult when it comes to cancelling your services, but I’d never thought that they just outright played games with people. It’s like they thought I was going to just hang up the phone and say “forget it” and that my grandpa would just pay the bill without even trying to deal with the hassle of getting things cancelled. Then it hit me. That is exactly what they want. They make getting questions answered and services cancelled a chore so that you’ll dread even the thought of going through with it. Don’t think about it, don’t ask questions, just pay the bill. Pay the excess amount of money and you won’t have to do the work. Wow, there’s some food for thought.
The third guy must have finally been the right person for the job (or maybe they just realized I wasn’t going to give up) because he only tried to talk me out of cancelling the services for fifteen minutes before actually doing it. So my grandfather was now paying $29.99/month for internet and $29.99/month for home phone service. A few days later he decided he did not want to pay for his house phone either, because only about four people ever called that number and they could just call his cell phone. So I called and promptly got that service cancelled, but here’s the kicker. Since he cancelled his house phone service, the internet service price went up almost $10/month to $39.95. Crooks. That’s just ridiculous to me, but what are you gonna do? That’s what the internet costs when it’s not discounted by another service. I was settled by the fact that, since I bought him the modem and got it set up, that there was no equipment charge and that there weren’t ANY other fees because it was a standalone service. This cancelled out all the miscellaneous “government taxes, fees, and surcharges” that are never truly explained and only seem to increase with each passing day.
In the end, my grandfather bought a digital antenna for $69.95 and he gets about fifteen channels, which is all he needs since he gets the news and sports channels. That means we won’t be missing out on any sporting events, even the Thanksgiving Day football game, and he can watch the news. He now pays $7.99 a month for Netflix so he can watch movies any time he wants. If he was a show watcher instead of a movie person, he could have paid for Hulu Plus instead, which includes all the newest shows for $7.99 a month as well. Would you be willing to miss a show the day it airs, only to watch it a day or two later on Hulu Plus? You don’t have to give up your shows or movies when you give up your cable service. You don’t have to give up anything but the massive payments. We also revisited my grandfather’s cell phone service because his contract was up this past May. He was paying $75/month, so I got him a smartphone for $100 and moved his number to Virgin Mobile for $35/month. Now my grandfather pays a flat $82.94/month for his cell phone, internet, and all the movies he could possibly watch. Collateral costs for the new phone, modem, blu-ray player with Netflix capability, and the digital antenna…$212.92. Slightly over the cost of a single month’s bill from his cable provider. Within a year he will have saved $2200.
Are you tired of paying outrageous amounts for your internet, cable, cell phone, or house phone services? Want to examine the alternatives? Contact me. I’ll handle your service providers for you. I’ll go through the hassles and make any changes you want. I’ll even walk you through the setup of new services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, the ordering of your digital antenna, and anything else you may need as far as information and guidance throughout the transition.