Why I Pay Less For Internet Service Than You Do
Because the government allows regulated monopolies on services like cable and phone, we are often limited on what choices we have when it comes to the delivery of internet services to our home. When I bought my home, I discovered that my only real choices for internet service were through Time Warner Cable or AT&T. Since I have absolutely no interest in paying for any television services, I chose to purchase internet service through AT&T U-verse at 12 Mbps.
My initial promotional pricing was $24.99 a month for one year with a $3 a month tack on for the “gateway.” I also got a $150 pre-paid debit card as a rebate and whatever set up fee there was waived. My understanding is that if I want to pay for TV later it will be routed through the same box and then I’d have to rent a DVR or some type of cable box for the TV set itself. I have never had cable service so paying a monthly fee to rent the modem the service requires was new to me.
At the end of the promotional period, the price I was paying per month reset to the standard $45 a month (AT&T also increased their monthly gateway fee to $4 a month since then). I wanted to pay less for internet, so I took a moment out of my morning and called customer service. I very politely told the representative about my situation and asked her if I could receive the same pricing that new customers get or if there were any promotions that could be given to existing customers. The customer service agent checked what offers whe was authorized to give me and told me that there was nothing available. She did encourage me to call back the next month when there possibly would be more offers for existing customers.
The next month I called back and spoke to a different rep who told me she would set up my account for another year of “new customer” pricing at $24.99/month and gave me an account credit for the month that I paid full price. Awesome! I saved $240.12 for the year just by making two short phone calls. Despite consumer complaints that seem widespread against AT&T, I have been quite satisfied with the service and responsiveness of it’s customer and technical support. With the pricing that I’m getting, they’ll continue to be the internet service provider for our household.
How To Save On Bills
- Check the internet to see what the current promotional pricing for new customers is.
- Make sure to note the time period the promotion lasts, any contract requirements, and if the service is equivelant to what you’re currently getting.
- Call customer service and politely tell them that you are an existing customer and you would like to pay less by receiving the promotional pricing new customers are receiving. You can also ask if there are any discounts for existing customers.
- Be nice! Don’t threaten to quit or cancel service if that’s not what you really want.
- If you are unsuccessful, ask the rep when a promotion will be available for existing customers and a good time to call back.
- Do something great with your savings! Invest it in an IRA, pay off some bills, or beef up your emergency fund.
Is It Unethical To Demand Lower Pricing?
I don’t think there is anything wrong with respectfully asking for a discount and receiving it. It doesn’t seem very fair for loyal customers to pay a higher price than someone who just signed up for the same service. However, I do think it is unethical for people to contact their service providers and demand a discount just because they continue to be a customer.
It’s not fair to threaten to quit, especially when that is not what you intend to do, just to save some money. Threatening to quit should be a last resort when you are dissatisfied with the service. There are many resolutions to the pricing problem and most companies are empowering their reps to improve customer satisfaction.
Believe it or not, there is a science to variable pricing schemes. Common ones we encounter every day are airline tickets that change prices on a day to day basis for the same flight and “new customer” pricing for services. What do you do to get the best pricing possible? How have you saved on your bills? Will you use this strategy to pay less for internet?