It’s like clockwork. Every year, I receive a notice in the mail that my Time Warner Cable “promotional” rate is going to expire. I hate getting those letters in my mailbox. I really do! For those who have Time Warner Cable or any cable TV/internet provider knows that a promotional rate is the only way to make these services somewhat affordable. Now, I don’t have cable television, in fact, I have been cable free for over two years! I do, however, have internet service with Time Warner Cable. The reason is they are the only service provider in our area that has high-speed and not crappy DSL. This does give them a monopoly on pricing, but don’t tell the government that, as they just turn a blind eye. So, every year, I have to call into Time Warner and try to get my rate re-negotiated back down to what I had. The best part of all this is they seem to think they are giving me a better rate in their mailing. Here is what I got this year (paraphrased).
Your promotional rate of $49.99 is expiring on December 5th. Since you are a loyal customer, we are going to extend another promotional rate for you. The standard rate is $67.99 per month for your internet package. Instead of this rate, we are going to give you a rate of $59.99, saving you $8 per month! You don’t have to do anything. The new low rate will go into effect on your next billing cycle.
Now, I’m no math whiz, but this is not saving me any money. This is actually forcing me to pay $10 more per month than I currently am. I don’t like paying more, as I described in my “just ask for a discount” post. I don’t even like paying a normal rate. I want to see some savings or I’m not going to be a happy camper. Since Time Warner was so kind to save me $8 a month in their math illiterate thinking, I decided it was time to call them and negotiate another rate in aims to keep my $49.99 per month “promotion.”
How to Negotiate Your Rate with Time Warner Cable
I have found it can be hell calling the cable company to negotiate a rate. They are terrible with customer service. I’m not actually sure they even know what it is. This is why I don’t look forward to these conversations. I have been negotiating my rate for nearly 10 years. I never pay their full price for anything, and you don’t have to either. I’m sure they give promotional rates to those who want it, but keep those who don’t want to fight it at regular price. I know many people who will just accept the new payment and move on. Not me baby! Never!
I have two methods to negotiating my rate with Time Warner. It depends on who I’m speaking with. I either go with the nice approach or go with the “lets use math” approach. Both have worked successfully in the past and I will continue to use them. One tried and true approach became defunct last year. It was the “I’m going to cancel” approach. This was easy as they would shuffle you into the cancellation department, which seemingly had unknown promo rates that no other customer service employee had access to. They could give you excellent rates just to keep you as a customer. Well, I have tried that for the past two years and now most service agents can just cancel you right there. They don’t have to transfer you nor do they care if you cancel. That was such an easy method, but doesn’t really work anymore in most cases.
Method One: Killing them with Kindness
Haven’t you ever heard to “kill them with kindness?” I have used this method successfully quite a few times and just used it properly in my last negotiation two weeks ago. It does work, but you really have to be nice. This method is really simple and you can tell if you need to use it. When you actually get connected to a billing customer service agent, you explain your situation about the new promotional rate. When you speak with them, don’t first start getting into the specifics. When they say hello, you say hello. Ask them if they are doing well. Talk to them gently without any provoking language or speaking up because you’re frustrated. Tell them about your “new” rate and how you really want to stay at the rate you have.
When I called in a few weeks ago, the lady who was on the other end was kind. This let me know I should try the “kill them with kindness” approach. I asked her about her day and hoped she was doing well. Remember, these are people too. They just have a job to do at a company more people hate. I understand, I used to be a debt collector. I asked the lady how she can help me keep the rate I had. It was the holidays and I didn’t want to pay more than I should. I even said that since I’m not getting faster service or better service, I didn’t feel the new rate was justified. I didn’t sound condescending or rude. She put me on hold to see what she could find. After a minute or two, she came back and said she didn’t have any promotions which could keep me at the same rate.
I told her I was disappointed and really “liked” my service with Time Warner and didn’t want to switch companies. She then put me on hold for a few more minutes while she looked for any other promos. Well, after about 5 minutes, she came back and told me that my rate would not change. She found a promotion which would keep my rate the same for another year. I thanked her for her excellent service and help. Everything was done in less than 20 minutes. That’s a record for me and I’ll take that anytime!
Method Two: Busting Out Research and Math
This method takes a little more time. The key to its success is you actually have to do some research and basic math for it to work. I have also used this method successfully in the past. The bones of this method is to check Time Warner Cable’s website for the cost of your package to a new customer. They love giving new customers a low rate just to get them in the door. That’s how they have hoodwinked all of us. They give them a super low rate and then charge them more after a year. This is their subscription model, along with every other cable and internet provider. So, you have to go onto the website and make sure you aren’t logged into your account. Look at the rates and copy down the information. Now, head over to their competitors sites and get rates from them for similar services. If you only have internet access, this can be harder, but we do have AT&T U-verse here which I could switch to. The speed is slower, but so is the rate. I’m just using them as a comparative model.
When you call Time Warner and you get a representative, you will know when you have to use this method based on their tone. You can tell if someone is willing to help you or not just based on their tone and how they speak to you. If they are short and get right to the point, this is the method you should use. I used this last year to get my current rate. When you go through the promotional rate process and they “can’t” provide you with the same rate you had before, then it’s time to bust this out. Tell them you looked at the rate for new customers and it’s X amount lower than yours. Ask them why you can’t have a good rate like this and you have been a loyal customer for X time frame. Tell them they need to reward you for your loyalty with a lower rate. Shoot for the new customer rate. You will likely never get it, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
If this doesn’t work, then start talking about moving to another provider. Give them the numbers from their competitors. Most companies hate loosing customers to their competitors. Time Warner Cable is no different. I used AT&T as a comparative last year and told them I could get this package for this price. I then told them that I didn’t want the hassle of switching and could they work with me to get the price lower or at the same price I had before. I also told them that if I needed to, I would switch services, then come back after a few months and get the new customer rate. Now, I did this as it costs Time Warner money when they have to sent out a technician to install something. Instead of paying for someone to come out, they can just lower my bill or keep my rate on the same promo. This is why it works.
As I said, I have never paid full price with any Time Warner Cable rate. I have never done it and don’t plan on starting anytime soon. Negotiating your Time Warner Cable rate is an art and sometimes mathematical science. They know some people will fight them on their rates, while others won’t. This is why they make it hard for you to get a lower rate. There are other methods to try when negotiating, but anger and madness is not one of them. As I said, these are real people on the other ends of the line. Do you like getting yelled at over the phone? Probably not. I know I would make your life harder if you called me up and started yelling. Don’t make it harder for you to get a lower Time Warner Cable rate. Kill them with kindness or use basic math to get a new promotional rate. I have done it for 10 years and will continue as long as my methods work. If they don’t, I will change them up!
Have either of these methods worked for you? If not, what method works when you negotiate your cable/internet provider rate?