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Reader Tip: How I saved $156 per year by asking for introductory rates

Here’s a great tip that Rochelle emailed in:

I have been an AT&T customer for 10 years now. I have a bundle package with them, which includes home phone, cell phone and DSL. Every year the bill seems to go up, so I look it over and then give them a call. I contact their Retention Department and tell them I have been a long-time customer and then ask them if I can have their introductory rates (like the rates you see on TV for new customers).

Recently, I was able to reduce my bill by $13 per month ($156/year), plus they increased my DSL speed to a faster connection, just by making a phone call to their Rentention Dept. The new lower rates will be in effect for one year, then I will have to give them a call after my one year is up to ask for a discount again. -Rochelle

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42 Comments

  • Christie says:

    I did this same thing with my cable bill. I told them I was going to start shopping rates, but that I wanted to know what they could do for me before I started calling around. They cut my bill by about $25/month for a year. They said to call back at the end of the year and ask what specials they could give me then.

  • Laney says:

    I did this awhile back with my cable company. We had cable & DSL for $110 a month. I was able to get the new customer rate of $85 per month which will increase $5 a year for the next 5 years. We are saving $25 a month right now totalling $300 a year!

    • Fay says:

      We just don’t have cable which according to some of the numbers on here is saving us over $600 a year even after the discounted rates that ya’ll are quoting. Wow!

  • Kristin says:

    Just be careful if you plan to do this… some companies have a reduced rate for a certain amount of time and then another period of time when you must pay a higher rate. We had looked into bundles in our area and we could have saved $40 per month the first year, and then paid $40 more for the next year (or $80 more than that company’s first year rate). It evened out with our current rate, but was a contract deal, so if we moved or wanted out we would have penalties to pay.

  • Alexis says:

    I did this with AT&T’s DSL service last year. They upgraded my speed & lowered my bill to intro rates…but I was stuck paying the full price ($45) for 3 months because the “system” couldn’t update itself. They then tried to cheat me & only give me 2 months worth of overpayment back instead of 3. It took breaking down on the phone to finally make them realize I wasn’t trying to screw them over in return.

    I am posting this as a heads up that the 3 month waiting period may happen to someone else with only DSL service. Apparently a lot of people had to deal with it last year, hopefully AT&T fixed themselves so future issues won’t happen.

  • Cher says:

    I call every year and can usually save around $30 a month off our cable tv/internet bill.

  • Roxanne says:

    I’ve heard this tip a few times before.

    Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked for us yet. In the past year my husband and I have both tried calling the phone company, internet company, and car insurance company. We were told we are getting the best rate and cannot get any discounts.

    We’re not giving up yet, though. It only takes 3 minutes to make a call, so we figure we’ll try again in a few months.

    • GK says:

      If you can find another company that does offer the introductory rate or a better rate for you, call your current company and tell them that company X will only charge you this much. When they say “There is nothing I can do for you” politely tell them they can cancel your service as you will be using the other company. 9 times out of 10 they will ‘go get a manager’ who will be able to change your rate! If not, then you have to be willing to actually switch to the other company! – so far I have never had to actually switch, nor has anyone else I know that has tried this method! Good luck! 🙂

    • peever says:

      We have the same problem. There’s only one cable company in our area so they have a monopoly on everything and it stinks. Their customer service is awful. So it’s either that or Dish/Direct TV here. We switched to Direct TV, but we’re still stuck with the cable company for our cable modem.

      • Amy says:

        We only have one cable company in our area, too, but my husband always calls and says he wants to cancel our services and switch to satellite, and they always transfer him to what must be their retention dept., and he always ends up getting a better deal. We also recently discovered that this company offers different deals on their websites (yes, they have multiple websites with different deals on them, some better than others) than they can offer via phone, and we are looking into the possibility of saving a ton of money on both cable and internet through one of their website deals.

  • Rebecca says:

    I do almost the same thing with my Comcast Cable/Internet bill. I have called them explaining I need to keep my bill under $100.00. They give me some kind of special rate for so many months (usually it’s anywhere from 3 to 10 months). Then when that special rate is about to expire I call them and see if there is any new specials that will keep my bill under $100.00 (there always seems to be). I have been doing this for about 2 years and have dropped our cable/internet bill from $120.00 to $67.00.

  • Bridgette says:

    I do that too. Some phone operators are more willing to help than others. I call again if the first person says no. I refuse to pay for than 90 for cable and internet. I pay 82 now. I also call to have my bill adjusted if my service goes out. However, I am thinking of keeping the internet and switching to Hulu and a Roku for TV.

    • Kathy says:

      We have completely canceled our satallite tv service and use our internet to watach tv. We LOVE it. We use Boxee, Hulu, and Navi X to watch tv. The great thing is that we can watch new shows and old classic shows. We love that we can show our kids some of the old shows and not have to watch current shows that are not child appropriate in our opinions. We also pick and choose which cartoons we want them to see and there is less chance of them “flipping” through shows and choosing something we don’t approve of. We have shown our older children how to go to the shows we approve of and they can watch those. I love the fact that we are watch as much tv as before, but not paying $60+ a month for service. We have to have internet for my husband’s IT job, so that expense would already be there without the tv perk.

      • Priscilla says:

        I’m really interested in learning a little more about using the internet to watch tv….do you have antenna for the regular stations and then use the internet to watch other shows or do you strictly use the internet? My husband and boys like to watch sports, what would I do for that? Thanks for any info you can give me!!

      • Wendy says:

        We were thinking of doing this. Do you need a high speed connection? We have DSL now but I was wondering if it would be too slow to watch programs.

        • Kathy says:

          We have middle package not the lowest, but not the expensive through Verizon, now some other company. We have not trouble with streaming shows. We love it. The only thing that we truely miss is news, but we can watch recaps of Fox programs and a few others. That actually saves us a lot of time. We have an old tv, so we bought a mac mini and another box to convert the computer stuff to tv stuff. We figured out that we paid for the equipment in less than a year, so now we are ahead of the game.

          My husband is in IT so he has no problem with this type of situation, but I have been told by others that it is not hard for non IT people. There is lots of help online for this.

    • Kathy says:

      We did this and love it. No more $60+ a month bill.

  • Cary says:

    We recently called to cancel our cable package with comcast (phone, Internet, and cable) and they offered us a 35% discount indefinitely, bumped us up to the next larger channel package, gave us a few movie channels, plus they gave us a wifi router, and upgraded our dvrs for free. It ended up being cheaper than what we had planned to switch too, not to mention we were getting a lot more!

    My parents had a similar experience when they called to cancel dish, b/c they were moving out of state. Dish even offered to give them the new deal at their next house, but they didn’t take it b/c they had not been very impressed with their service.

    We also have a pretty gutsy neighbor who always asks “what is the absolute best deal you can give me?” when dealing with service providers. He gets some good deals, and has inspired us to be more gutsy too!

    Anyway, just another testimony that it is a good time to call and ask for better deals!

  • Stephanie says:

    I did this by accident once. My husband said that our satellite bill was just too high and we needed to cancel the service and just deal with local channels, so I called to cancel and they gave us such a great rate for a year that my husband said we could keep it. I also tried to cancel my Sunday newspaper subscription since the renewal rate was higher than the gas I would spend driving to the store to pick one up, and they also gave me a great rate for a year.

  • Keri Grabiec says:

    I did the same thing with Verizon Fios, because I had lost my job and was trying to reduce our bills… They took $15 a month off the bill for one month and gave us a movie package free for three months as well as upgraded the internet and then gave us some security package for the computer for three months free as well… I also called the gas company and found out about several programs would could apply for to reduce the amount of our bill.. You can also call and negotiate with your cell phone company… Bigger lesson do not be afraid of calling any company and trying to negotiate your bill..they want your business and especially your money!!

  • Jeanne says:

    I love to hear these succss stories, and it is good to be aware of potential ‘catches’ as well. I have tried this with cable, however, they haven’t had any competition here, so they have only been willing to take things away (such as DVR), and we don’t even have any ‘extra’ channels, such as HBO. Another provider is coming to our city, so I hope this will provide some relief – either by switching providers or getting more competitive rates with the existing provider.

  • Melissa says:

    My husband did something simliar yesterday! He called to cancel a free 3 month HBO thing we were given by DirecTV when our pay per view movie wasn’t working right (which was also a freebie). When the rep asked if there was anything else she could help him with he causally asked if we could get a lower rate on our existing tv package. She was able to reduce our monthly cost by $8 for one year. That’s a $96 savings! It never hurts to ask for a better price!

  • Sue says:

    We just did the same thing. They are all in such competition with each other they will do a lot to keep you.

    Sue in NJ

  • Jennifer says:

    Looks like I am not the only one that submitted this idea a few weeks ago when you asked for tips. 🙂

  • Curtis says:

    We have found a way to save $860 to $2oo0 per year. First we turned off Direct TV. We were paying around $89 per month for there service and found that all but 2 of the shows we watch were online for free you just have to wait a day after it shows on TV. We also got Netflix for $9.00 per month. I have found several hundred hours of programs to watch and I can tailor it more to my taste. Now for those that just have to have there TV, some of the newer TV’s are internet ready you just plug in your DSL line or I hear they even have wireless just like your laptop.
    Another money saving tip is to fix all water leaks/drips in your house. Go to your local hardware store and find a good book on plumbing repair (one with lots of photos) and do it yourself you will save $100 of dollars each time you don’t call a plumber. If you need to change the locks on your house for key control most hardware stores will rekey locks for about $5.00 per lock you just have to bring in the locks, most require the removal of 2 screws to do this just make sure and leave someone there to watch your place while you have the locks removed. The employes will help you find what you need and can even explain the steps for repair. Your best money saving place are the repair books at any hardware or book store and there is no cost to look at them. The best tool you have is your mind. My 15 year old daughter can do all this, and so can you.

  • Courtney says:

    I have another tip for AT&T customers. AT&T recently launched something called “Mobile to any Mobile” calling. Basically, if you already pay monthly for unlimited texting – you can switch to the mobile to any mobile with texting option. The price is exactly the same only any minutes you use for calling people on a mobile device do not count towards your monthly allowance. We practically only call people on cell phones so this has enabled us to reduce our monthly plan/minutes and pay a much cheaper rate each month! Our bill went down at least $30 a month by choosing this new option! Woo hoo!

    • Wendi S says:

      Thanks for the heads up. I didn’t know about this. We too mostly call cell numbers, so I’ll check into it. Did you have to be at the end of your contract to switch over?

  • Lynn says:

    I am so glad to hear this success story! We have been paying a set “locked in” rate for 2 years and it ends in July. At that time our bill will go up almost $60 and to be honest we have some services that were “freebies” that we could care less about!! I have decided closer to the time I will call and see if I can get the same rate or close to it (if not, I really will cancel the extra services) – looks like many people are able to do so. Thanks for leaving me hopeful!!

  • Carol says:

    I did this yesterday with our garbage company (kind of by accident). I had planned on switching to another company that offered us a larger container at basically the same rate. When I told them this was the reason I was going to cancel, my current company gave me a lower rate than what we are currently paying, upgraded our trash container, and we’re also getting two new recycling bins. So we are now staying with them!

  • Tara says:

    This is a good idea in theory, but a lot of times it doesn’t work. Especially with AT&T, this way to get a discounted price could be disappearing very soon. I’ve been an AT&T customer for years. I recently cancelled their U-Verse TV service because it was crazy expensive, and they were raising rates by about $5 every year. I also wanted to discontinue their U-Verse Internet, and go back to the DSL.

    This is when the AT&T manager told me that I couldn’t do that because AT&T will start the process of converting all DSL customers who qualify for U-Verse to the AT&T U-Verse Internet service. Meaning they’re trying to completely get rid of DSL in the next couple of years, and they’re going strictly to U-Verse Internet. The lowest U-verse Internet price is $35/month whereas, I believe, the highest DSL price is only $19.99/month.

    In addition to that, AT&T has started feeding any U-verse customer the line of, “Our products are far superior and cannot be compared to other services, therefore we don’t match deals competitors offer.” So, when they are able to do a complete switch from DSL to U-Verse, I’m sure it’s going to be a lot more difficult to get AT&T to cut you a deal. They did offer a $10 credit for 3 months, but that’s really not that much, and doesn’t last very long. I ended up keeping their Internet, canceling my landline, and switching back to Directv. My bill went from about $240/month for mobile, landline, TV and Internet to about $150/month for mobile, TV and Internet…a $90/month savings.

  • Dsperin says:

    I had Comcast for years (internet and cable) and got discounted rates continuously. Eventually they told me that they wouldn’t give me good rates any more, so I cancelled TV and stuck with just internet until I could think of something else.

    Eventually, my boyfriend got a Comcast special offer in the mail (they send these ALL the time, even to current customers) that offered TV, phone, internet, and a bunch of freebies all for $99/year, for two years! I cancelled my Comcast service and my boyfriend started this new service in his name. We’re locked in for two years!

    The big bonus here is that you can do this anytime you want at your current residence. If you’re married, just have the service in one spouses name and switch back and forth as necessary. You’ll have to go a few days without service between the switch, but it’s worth the savings. And, it’s legit!

  • Katy says:

    I used to do this with Comcast, but every time I called it got harder and harder to find the right customer service manager to help us out. It became so difficult talking with them, even in their retention dept., that we finally switched companies.

    Doesn’t hurt to try, just know that it doesn’t always work!

  • Paul says:

    Thanks for the advice. I just called and I am going to save 25.00/month. Also, they stuck international calling on my bill so now I am going to save even a couple more dollars because of getting rid of this.

  • Judy says:

    Sadly we only have one internet company that works with our connection out here, and after calling to ask if they would reduce our rate after doubling it following the first year, they said no :(. It never hurts to ask though!

  • GSH says:

    If you rarely use a cell phone, look at the prepaid options. I have AT&T GoPhone.

  • Jen says:

    I do this with the Sirius satellite radio in my car. We live in an area where we have only 2 radio stations (one Spanish one and the other a christian one) so Sirius is a must for music when my current subscription runs out I call to cancel and they offer me a lower rate. The regular rate is $198 per year but they offer it to me for $88 per year if I keep the service. They done this for me twice now.

  • Sarah Z says:

    I would be careful with AT&T. We did that a while back and it took 4 months and lots of calls for them to get our bill correct. Not only that, each month they said the offer from last month was no longer valid and they had to adjust (inc. price) to make it work. We ended up with slower internet in order to get the original ‘cheaper’ price with the fast internet. Not gunna do that again!

  • Jodi says:

    This didn’t work for me. He tried to downgrade my service (I only have basic family cable anyway!), but wouldn’t give me any discount! I’ll try again.

  • Debbie says:

    Anyone had success with Optimum? They’re the only providers of high-speed Internet in my neighborhood, and all attempts (and there were quite a few!) to lower my rates were unsuccessful.

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