Lower Your Bill: Learn to Negotiate with DishNetwork, DIRECTV, AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast (and Save Hundreds)
(Updated 9/05/16) 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.
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!
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 DishNetwork monthly bill down to $44.95 for the America’s Top 200 package. $25 x 12 = $300 per year.
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.
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.
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 “Republic Wireless 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
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
Photo credit to hoot2012.