(Updated 10/20/16) If you’ll recall, and nobody will, that my first ever Frugal Hack was about a secret Dish Network programming plan that they don’t advertise which gets you 50+ channels for only $19.99 a month. Pretty darn good deal, right? I know many of my frugal readers have already cut the cable cord, but if you’re a sports fan, like me, your options are pretty darn limited.
After all, you’re not going to get ESPN with the $19.99 plan, or the Discovery Channel, or Fox News, or TBS, or TNT. By knowing how to negotiate a deal with DishNetwork, you’ll learn how to get many of those channels without a significant increase in your bill. Also, it is worth mentioning that the strategy I’m going to describe will work for any cable or satellite TV company. If done correctly of course!
Here is what my goats think of my once expensive Dish Network bill:
Do Your Research
The first thing you have to do is analyze your situation. Are you currently under contract with your cable or Satellite company? If so, this hack is going to be much more difficult to pull off.
Next, find out what the competition is currently offering. If you know this info like the back of your hand you’re going to get some serious street cred when talking to the rep.
In my case, DirectTV was offering a special promotion of $29.99/mo. for 12 months for something they call the “Choice” package. It offered 150+ channels, including ESPN, and was going to used as my ammo when shooting for a better deal.
UPDATE: (7/21/14) – DirectTV is ridiculously expensive these days and doesn’t give you much power to negotiate anymore. Instead, when you make the call to Dish to negotiate, tell them you plan on using Hulu Plus and Netflix along with an HD Antennae. I just did this and got the screaming deal of $45 off my bill for 12 months with the America’s Top 120+ package.
Make the Cancel Call
Next, you call the DishNetwork 1-800 number and tell the first person you speak with that you want to cancel your account. They’ll ask “why?” and you’ll say “I have found a better deal with a competitor of yours.” They’ll immediately put you on hold and send your call to the customer loyalty or customer retention department.
The name varies by company, but the bottom line is you’ll want to talk with these guys as they are the ONLY ones authorized to give you the kick-ass deal you’re going to ask for.
Be Polite, But Persistent
Here is how the convo went:
Me: “Yeah, hi, I want to cancel my service today.”
DishTV Rep: “I’m really sorry to hear that. Is there any particular reason you want to cancel?”
Me: “I found a better deal with Direct TV and want to switch.” I then explained the package I mentioned earlier.
DishTV Rep: Silence. Then she says “Well, we’d really like to keep your business. For you to get a similar package with us, it would be the America’s Top 120 and it typically is $49.99 per month. But today I can lower that to $39.99 per month. Would that be OK?”
Me: “Well, I appreciate that offer, but like I mentioned, DirectTV is offering a very similar package for $29.99 per month. So I guess I’ll just go ahead and switch.””
DishTV Rep: “Let me talk to my manager and see if we can come down any further.” Silence and some whispering. She comes back on and say, “I have authorization from my manager to offer you $35.99 which is $14 off the regular monthly price.”
Me: “Well, I appreciate that but I think I’ll just go ahead and switch.”
DishTV Rep: “Let me ask again if we can meet the $29.99 a month deal.” More semi-silence. I don’t think she was actually talking to anyone, just playing solitaire on her computer while pretending too. She finally comes back on and says,”Yes, I have authorization to offer $29.99 a month for a 10 month period.”
Me: “That is awesome, thanks so much! So, after the 10 month period I’m not put into a contract to pay $49.99 a month or something?”
DishTV Rep: “No, you are not under any contract at any point.”
I got off the phone, immediately did my happy dance, then wondered how low she would have gone. Maybe $19.99 a month? Maybe a bunch of free movie channels as well? Has anyone gotten a better deal than the one I got? I’d love to hear about it and how you pulled it off.
After the ten months are over, I plan on calling them up and doing it again.
I was on the phone for a total of 5 minutes and ended up with a $49.99/mo. programming package for only $29.99 a month. I saved a total of $200 over the 10 month period.
So stoked to finally have ESPN, especially with the start of the college basketball season!
Ask the Reader: Do you pay more than you would like for cable or Satellite TV? If so, it’s about time you did something about it before your goat takes matters into her own hooves.
By Kyle James