Lower Your Bill: Learn to Negotiate with DishNetwork, DIRECTV, AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast (and Save Hundreds)

February 5, 2015 by Kyle
22
comments

(Updated 2/10/16)

What would you say if I told you that you could call Verizon Wireless, Dish Network, and AT&T today and save $708 per year by negotiating a lower bill? In recent months, I have done exactly that and it took me about 2 hours. $354 per hour ain’t too shabby, right? So I figured it was time to document how I did it, so you too can make it happen. I also included tips to negotiate a lower bill with DIRECTV and Comcast. Hope this article helps you save some serious cash.

Learn to Negotiate Bills

Keys to Negotiating ANY Bill:

  • Analyze the Competition: Before you consider making any call to try and negotiate a lower bill, spend a few minutes online looking at what the competition is currently offering in the form of promotions and limited time specials. By having this information at the ready when talking to the customer service rep you’ll look much more credible and your chances of success go up substantially.
  • Be Polite: This one seems quite obvious but is worth mentioning as it is so important. By acting entitled and arrogant on the phone you’re probably not going to garner any sympathy and are unlikely to get your bill lowered. Simply human nature. Be respectful and polite and you’ll have much greater success.
  • Don’t Be Afraid To Ask: You’ll never get what you don’t ask for. Be confident and tell the company rep exactly what you think you should pay and back it up with supporting details.
  • Know the Facts: Before making the “cancel” call, know exactly how long you have been with the company. Obviously the longer the better, especially if you have never made a late payment. Make this fact part of your argument when negotiating a lower monthly bill.
  • Don’t Get Emotionally Attached: You hear this all the time when negotiating the price on a home or car. Keep your emotions out of it, and don’t be afraid to walk away from the company if they can’t meet, or get close, to your number.
  • If at First You Fail, Always Try Again Grasshopper: If your first attempt to lower your bill is clearly going nowhere fast, just excuse yourself from the conversation and try calling them again later. This has happened to me many times where the first person is not helpful but the 2nd person I reach is incredible helpful in getting my bill lowered. BE PERSISTENT!

Dish Network

Negotiating your bill with Dish Network is something I have written about before and have become quite good at over the years. Here is the skinny…

  • Analyze the competition. Does DIRECTV currently have a better offer available that you can use for ammo? In my recent experience, probably not. More on this later.
  • Call them at 1 (855) 318-0572 and tell the first person you talk to you want to cancel your service.
  • You’ll immediately get transferred to the customer loyalty or customer retention department.
  • Tell the person, politely, that you want to cancel your service as it’s just too darn expensive.
  • Tell them you plan to use Netflix or Hulu along with an over-the-air HD antennae. This will typically work much better with DishNetwork than trying to use the competition for ammunition because Dish is pretty darn competitive on price.
  • A couple things to ask for that you should be able to get include: $15-$25 off your monthly bill (depending on your package) and free movies/sports channels. What you go after depends on what you want and what you watch. Me? I’d take the money and run every time, or ask for both.

Potential Savings: $300/year. I recently did this and got $25 off my bill for 12 months, plus free Encore and Cinemax, bringing my monthly bill down to $44.95 for the America’s Top 200 package. $25 x 12 = $300 per year.

DIRECTV

Because DIRECTV is a little more expensive than DishNetwork you have a little more gun powder to play with when calling to negotiate your bill. Here are some timely tips to make it happen:

  • Simply call them at 1 (800) 531-5000 and tell the first person you talk to that you want to cancel your account.
  • You’ll immediately get transferred to a Customer Retention specialist who has the power to lower your monthly bill. Let the negotiating begin.
  • I have been told by several sources that a “Retention” specialist at DIRECTV will lose their job if they have too many folks cancel. Not sure what that number is, but you’ll definitely want to use this info to your advantage.
  • Start the conversation by saying, “I’d like to cancel my service because it is just too expensive.” See what they say to that. In many cases they’ll offer you free movie channels to stay on but don’t be satisfied with that. You really want a 12-month credit on your current package.
  • Next, tell them that you have done some research and can save X dollars with DishNetwork OR you are going to cut the cord and use Netflix and a HD antennae. This is your call and really depends on what the savings is with a competitor. In many cases you are better off telling them you plan to cut the cord altogether.
  • At this point they should offer you a monthly credit for a 12 month period. I just had a good friend recently do this and get a $30 credit for a year on the Premier 285+ channel package plus FREE NFL Sunday Ticket for a year.

Potential Savings: $30 x 12 = $360 per year.

AT&T

The single best way to get your AT&T bill lowered is to call customer service and become a negotiating rock star. The truth of the matter is AT&T does NOT want to lose you as a loyal customer and is willing to bend over backwards to keep you on. This goes for your land-line, wireless plan, and Internet (DSL) plan.

How To Negotiate a Lower AT&T DSL Bill

  • Just last week I was able to get my DSL service lowered from $49/month to $24.99/month for 12 months. This is for the fastest DSL “Elite” plan which makes it an even better deal. I simply called them up and was polite, yet direct, and asked for exactly what I needed in order to stay with AT&T.
  • I told them I was tired of paying $49 a month for DSL and was ready to head to greener pastures. My greener pasture was Dish Network where I could bundle my satellite TV and Internet and get $10 off my total bill.
  • The more options for Internet services you have the better as it gives you negotiating power. Since I live out in the countryside, standard cable TV was not an option.
  • My first call yielded bad results as the operator was in no mood to give me a deal. But I did NOT let that stop me. I called them a day later and flat out said I was ready to get rid of my DSL service and that is when I got great results as the guy I talked to immediately offered me the 50% off savings. Be persistent!

Potential Savings: $24 x 12 = $288 per year.

How To Lower Your AT&T Wireless Bill

  • Examine your monthly bill with a fine toothed comb. AT&T is notorious for adding in a bunch of extra monthly charges.
  • Look for things like AT&T Family Map, AT&T Navigator, smart limits, enhanced voice-mail, and a detailed billing extra charge. If you don’t use the feature CUT IT OUT immediately.
  • Go on a “Data Diet” and lower your data plan to something more reasonable and just plan to do the majority of your data usage when you’re on a WiFi connection.
  • If after trimming the fat, your AT&T wireless bill is still too hot to handle, consider going contract free and really saving a bundle of money. I recently did this by dropping Verizon and couldn’t be happier.

Also, check for employer discounts. Many businesses, organizations, and educational institutions are enrolled in AT&T’s sponsorship programs which entitles employees monthly discounts on their wireless bill. Click Here to see if your employer is involved.

How To Lower Your AT&T Land-Line Bill

Because of my rural location, I may be the only person in my family that still has a land-line. If we got better cell reception at my house I’d drop my land-line like a bad habit. But for now I’m kinda stuck with it. Here are some ways to easily get it lowered:

  • Cut the fat. Closely exam your bill and make sure you aren’t paying for any features that you never (or rarely) use. Things like call forwarding, maintenance plans, call waiting, caller ID, voice-mail, etc. Only keep what you actually need.
  • You may be stuck paying all the state and federal taxes but make sure you aren’t paying for the crazy add-ons.
  • Also, be sure to call AT&T customer service and ask them politely what discounts or promotions they currently have available. I do this 2-3 times a year and always end up with a $5-$10 lower monthly bill.

Verizon Wireless

So I have read quite a bit recently about how you can’t negotiate your bill with Verizon. I say “hog-wash”, here is how I recently did it.

  • Call them at 1 (800) 922-0204 and get a customer service rep and immediately tell them that want to cancel your plan.
  • Homework. Homework. Homework. Once you get transferred to the “Customer Retention” department blow them away with your research. For example you could say “T-Mobile is offering basically the same plan as mine for X dollars LESS per month then what I’m currently paying. I could even pay the early termination fee and be ahead with them in X months. What can you do to help me lower my bill?”
  • Put the ball in their court by asking the question. They have spent a lot of money getting and retaining you as a customer who pays their bill on-time every single month. They aren’t going to let you walk away if they can possibly help it.
  • Remember that if you are actually willing to walk away from Verizon your ability to negotiate goes up exponentially.
  • Also, it is important to keep in mind that you will always have the final word on actually cancelling so don’t be afraid to push the limits a little bit with them.
  • I recently called and negotiated my wireless bill down $10 a month for a 12 month period. Verizon can be a tough nut to crack when it comes to negotiating a lower bill as they have excellent coverage and they know they are in a good situation because of it. Put simply, many Americans will not be happy with their coverage on T-Mobile or Republic Wireless and Verizon knows this.
  • Also, start a Twitter conversation with Verizon and I think you’ll be amazed with the quick response from a rep willing to help you lower your bill.

Potential Savings: $10 x 12 = $120 per year

Comcast

You can also call Comcast at 1 (800) 934-6489 to negotiate your cable, high-speed internet, or phone bill. Here is how to make it happen.

  • Once you place the call, you’ll want to work your way to the “Cancellation Department” or “Retention Specialist” as those are the folks with the power to lower your bill.
  • Immediately tell the person, in a polite way, that you “want to cancel your service as it is just too expensive.”
  • UPDATE: Thanks to an anonymous commentor, I have new info on Comcast. “I am a Comcast Retention employee, and I just wanted to correct your info on Comcast. First the worst thing you can say is you’re going to AT&T, the reason is every Comcast rep has been trained to compare Comcast to another provider and show how Comcast is the best value. The best thing to say is I can’t afford my bill and I want to stay with Comcast, but if you can’t lower it I will have to stream my TV. Sling TV is a good option to use. Next, don’t ask for a supervisor or manager. Most of them don’t want to take calls and the reps know this so they will offer a call back most of the time you won’t get the call back. Also the retention rep has the same offers as the supervisor. The lowest a rep can go is about 20% off the bill because you are taking money away from the rep.”
  • At this point, be prepared to talk about what AT&T is offering, or any competitor for that matter, and use that for your ammo.
  • The operator will then read off some boiler plate and offer to look into available promotions in an attempt to get your bill lowered.
  • If the offer they come up with is nothing special, then just politely tell them what you are looking for and describe what you want in as much detail as possible.
  • If they can’t help you then ask to speak with their manager.
  • At this point, ask the manager what they can do for you. They’ll then look into it and almost always offer you something better than the original person you talked with.
  • Either accept it or say, “No, that is just not good enough, I want to cancel.”
  • Remember, they DO NOT want to loose you as they spend a lot of money to retain customers and acquire new customers.
  • They’ll then likely come back with an even better offer. At this point you’ll want to consider accepting their offer or moving on to another company.
  • I am not a Comcast customer and have never personally negotiated with them but I have read more than once that you can negotiate with them via Online Chat. I would be very hesitant to try this as it has been my experience that live chat operators are not authorized to lower your bill. Whenever I have tried to do this with other companies they always end up giving me the direct phone number to the loyalty department.
  • If you are currently bundling services with Comcast you can really negotiate. I have heard stories of folks regularly negotiating $30 per month discounts on cable and internet.
  • Potential Savings: $30 x 12 = $360 per year

Bonus: Charter Communications

I got a great tip on negotiating your bill at Charter from loyal Facebook follower, Robin.

  • Here is what she told me. “Charter is our cable company. Talking to them on the phone does no good. But …. if you go to one of their branches …. they are most accommodating. They’ve lowered my bill, they also given us a free premium channel to try for a year.”
  • Great tip, thanks Robin!

Bonus #2: Time Warner Cable

This great tip comes from loyal reader Reid who annually negotiate his bill with Time Warner Cable. Here is how he makes it happen:

  • Straight from Reid, “If you’re not negotiating your bill on an annual basis with Time Warner you’re clearly overspending. Once you get a monthly rate you like, be sure to call back every 12 months to keep it going otherwise they’ll raise your rate without letting you know. Be polite, straight to the point, and hang up and try back if the person you talk to is not helpful. You’ll eventually get someone helpful and willing to lower your bill. You can usually tell within 20 seconds if the operator is willing to help you. I have the $67.99 package and I get it for $49.99.”
  • Great tip, thanks Reid.
  • Potential Savings: $18 x 12 = $216 per year

Ask the Reader: Have you successfully negotiated the price with any of these companies and how much did you save? Also, did you use any techniques that I did not mention? Please leave a comment so we can make this article the “go-to” resource for those looking to lower their monthly bills!


By Kyle James

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Comments

22 Responses to “Lower Your Bill: Learn to Negotiate with DishNetwork, DIRECTV, AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast (and Save Hundreds)”

  1. Jose on February 24th, 2015 12:03 pm

    This is such a great post! I would like to know how to lower my T-Mobile bill as well please!

    [Reply]

  2. Redshirts on June 7th, 2015 7:47 am

    I am a Comcast Retention and employee, and I just wanted to correct your info on Comcast. First the worst thing you can say is you’re going to AT&T, the reason is every Comcast rep has been trained to compare Comcast to another provider and show how Comcast is the best value. The best thing to say is I can’t afford my bill and I want to stay with Comcast, but if you can’t lower it I will have to stream my TV. Sling TV is a good option to use. Next, don’t ask for a supervisor or manager. Most of them don’t want to take calls and the reps know this so they will offer a call back most of the time you won’t get the call back. Also the retention rep has the same offers as the supervisor. The lowest a rep can go is about 20% off the bill because you are taking money away from the rep. We like to hang on to our pay as much as possible. If you call to just cancel your service and don’t want a lower price the best thing to say is you’re moving out of the country. Have a place in mind because they will ask. That is an unavailable disconnect and the reps can’t do anything about it. Also it will help us move on to the next call faster where we have another chance to make money.

    [Reply]

    Kyle Reply:

    Great tip! Thanks for sharing it with us.

    [Reply]

  3. No Name on June 12th, 2015 2:43 pm

    I’ve had Dish for over 8 year. Every time I try to cancel they keep lowing my bill. I’ve never dealt with a company that has gone this far to try to keep their customers. I pay $27.10 for the Top 200 package with DVR and with a joey box.

    DISH IS THE BEST.

    [Reply]

  4. J.R. on July 28th, 2015 11:28 am

    Thank you for this article which was the best starting point I could find in negotiating for a lower bill with DISH. I did a lot of homework and found a rep who was very eager to negotiate due to our 13 years continuous and always paid on time status with DISH. I started off by saying that I had added up costs of Hulu Plus, Netflix and Sling TV with Deportes Extra and arrived at $42 and needed something with DISH that was comparable. The end result was a bill cut by 55 percent from $103 to $48 monthly and now we retain all the channels we wanted (including local and America’s 250) AND still have our much desired DVR service and Joey to be able to record to 2 TV’s. This is $10 better monthly than even introductory rates for new customers.

    [Reply]

  5. Tevin Broner on August 17th, 2015 6:06 pm

    So with Verizon Wireless there is no retention department, only customer service. And the system autogenerates loyalty offers. If you call and ask normally we give the best deal we can, but there is a limit, that limit is a lot of factors like length of time how much the company makes and etc.

    [Reply]

  6. Andrea on November 12th, 2015 1:00 pm

    Hi there, so I followed your advice and researched DirecTVs competition (Dish) and called DTV to cancel my account. We are out of contract and moving so very easy for us to cut ties. The rep barely tried to keep us after 16 years with them!! She only offered about $20 off and two additional Genie minis. By moving to Dish we can save about $1380/year because they will bundle our high speed internet in as well. I would rather stay with DTV but guess they can’t come close to Dish’s offer. I have yet to receive a call from a retention specialist. In two years I can switch back to DTV and be considered a new customer and get a better deal. Thanks for this post! Even though it didn’t work out with DTV I am going into my negotiations with our other service providers with confidence.

    [Reply]

    DP Reply:

    That’s the same sort of issue I’ve had with them. They offer to reduce my channel package in an effort to save me money. Sometimes they pawn me off to their “promotions” department to get me a $10 or $15/mo. promotional credit for 10-12 months, but that’s usually as far as I get. I’m ready to drop them AND TWC for my Internet… I’ll just have my girlfriend put it in her name instead and get the promotional price for both. Huge savings potential there, haha.

    [Reply]

  7. David R Posey on December 17th, 2015 4:44 pm

    the DirectTV advice worked well for me. Thank you

    [Reply]

  8. Peter on January 1st, 2016 9:01 pm

    Want to know what really works? Cutting the cord and ditching cable TV altogether. Only then do you start hearing about the really good deals as cable attempts to woo you back. I was recently offered a bargain rate for cable TV plus rent-free use of all equipment. Trouble is, I’m more than happy with my ad-free streaming services, and I’m locked into a two-year contract for low cost broadband.

    [Reply]

  9. Shonna on January 24th, 2016 8:14 am

    Hello, I am a Directc Retention Rep and I just want this to be clear on the statement that was made about losing our job if so many people cancel out , that is a False statement if anything that rep will be moved to another department but we get paid Hourly and speaking to OUR customers are just money in our bonus check, second we are not dumb at all we know what our customers do say they want to cancel but in reality looking for A Credit sometimes Credits may not be available. Due to one’s account and again like Comcast retention said they same thing a supervisot have we have the same thing that’s why were on the higher level of our company , because a supervisor is not going to want to speak with you about a bill issue .
    I seen customers throw all these different companies and pricing up in the air but 99% of the time THEY come back all the time saying how they had the worst experience with other providers .instead of LIEN if you be honest the rep will go beyond to helping you in anyway possible . EVERY company has they Defaults many people have different experiences with different providers it’s a Dog eat Dog world I personally love Directv not because I work here because we value and go extra mile for our customers ,those rude customers who absoulty do the most drama I tell them yes we are a business , and we know we can’t save everybody long as we gave you options on lowering bill and that’s not fine sorry. Credits don’t last forever and can’t be reinstated. I like to see a form online that has HOW CAN YOU LOWER MY ELECTRIC BILL , OR MY WATER BILL wait .. they not going to do that

    [Reply]

    Dan Reply:

    Of course the utilities don’t generally lower lower your electric or water bills, but they also 1. don’t have competition (you’re stuck) and 2. they don’t play games with promotional rates and contracts to lock people in and then try to extract every possible dollar from them.

    I’d love to see a company toss a bone to loyal, paying customers instead of having them jack up your rates every year or two.

    [Reply]

    Bradley Reply:

    I think Shonna’s response is why I’ll never go to DirecTV. A total misunderstanding of how things work. I was paying over $120 for the same service I receive now for $70 with Dish. I’ve been with them for five years and am very happy as they’re always willing to play ball and they don’t get high and mighty like this DirecTV employee. I’d be LYING if I said her use of the English language made me blush.

    [Reply]

    sully Reply:

    That was the most incoherent messy jumbled up response I have ever read

    [Reply]

  10. Jerald on January 27th, 2016 6:25 am

    I need to lower my DTV Bill. I’m 60 years old and been subscribing to DTV for 10+ years. I recently was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma. I’m on a fixed income and now most of my entrainment dollars are going towards cancer treatment and prescription medicine. What should I do to get my bill lower.

    [Reply]

    mmcelwee Reply:

    Hello,

    So sorry to read of your battle, I really hope you are doing well.

    I would do what one poster said, be honest. Explain your situation, and let them clearly understand your circumstances.

    I would actually evaluate/negotiate all your bills: cell/landline, electric co For conservation discounts, cable/satellite, etc…
    And don’t be shy to ask for a sr. Citizen discount, for they have no idea how young you are.

    There are many other ways to save a few bucks: switch ceiling fans to clockwise in winter in ea. room and actually always leave them on low. Run a dishwasher at night. Unplug unused appliances/electronics, weatherstrip/caulk house :/,
    Change your hvac filter monthly always, service your water heater and hvac, turn fridge & frzr to conservative setting, etc….

    I know that’s all boring and time consuming, but it will all add up. There are many more things you can do too.

    I’ve not been sick but have been broke and have had to really stretch and scrape.

    Wish you well :)

    [Reply]

    Kyle Reply:

    All great ideas and tips. Thanks for taking the time to write them and I wish you well Jerald.

    [Reply]

  11. D on January 31st, 2016 12:47 pm

    Spoke with comcast nicely. They offered nothing and even said they were sorry I felt that I needed to cancel but there was nothing they could do to lower our rate. Period.
    Is DISH ok? I’m ready to switch after 20 years of getting shafted by comcast.

    [Reply]

  12. christian on February 7th, 2016 1:24 pm

    Wow this is great advice. I have been tackling my dish bill for over a year now. I haven’t been able to get them to give me more than a $15 discount for 6 months. I did call again today and received an additional discount of $5 for the top 200 channels. It wasn’t what I wanted, but it helps. Cable is just too expensive.

    [Reply]

  13. Keith Schwerin on February 10th, 2016 11:41 am

    How about moving FROM t-mobile/ATT/VZW to Project Fi from Google?

    You will have to purchase a Nexus device for about ($320-350 new, finance one, or get a used 6/5X/6P from Swappa), but doing so I moved my bill from$67~ a month with T-Mobile to $30~ on Fi. I get the same amount of Talk/Text and I only pay for the Data I use. Any I don’t use gets removed from my bills cost. After the first 10 months, the savings paid off the phone and now everything is pure savings back in my pocket.

    Since it uses T-Mobile and Sprint towers my signal strength and service area has even increased.

    [Reply]

    Veronykah Reply:

    Nice! Just requested a Fi invite, I think I’d see similar savings and I already have a 5x!
    Bring it Google!

    [Reply]

  14. Joe on February 22nd, 2016 3:09 pm

    I had 50Mb Comcast Business Class Internet (no contract at the time) at my home for about $100/month. I decided that I wanted to switch my Dish TV service to Comcast and change my business class Internet over to residential.

    When I chose a TV/Internet package and tried to place my order, the rep had to transfer me to the business class department so I could schedule cancellation of my Internet service with them before she could place my order for residential Internet service.

    To my surprise, the person I spoke to on Comcast’s business class side was very eager to keep my business. I guess residential and business class are completely separate entities.
    He offered to:
    1. Reduce my bill by half to ~$50/month; no change to my service
    2. Reduce my bill to ~$75/month; double my speed to 100Mb
    3. No change to my monthly payment; triple my speed to 150Mb

    I’m happy enough with 50Mb, so I took option 1 and kept my TV service with Dish. That’s $600/year saved for attempting to change my Comcast Internet service from business class to residential.

    [Reply]

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