PostPoints tip: Have you bargained over your TV bill lately?
A lot of the telecom costs we pay are fixed. Unless your wireless carrier or Internet provider inflicts an extended outage or bill you in error, you probably won't be able to talk them into lowering your bill for one month, let alone for the remainder of your contract. (If you've had better luck, please tell me about it.) TV service, however, can be different. If you have a choice of TV providers--say, between Comcast and Verizon's Fios, or between Cox and satellite providers Dish Network and DirecTV--threatening to walk can yield a decent discount. You may be able to keep the promotional rate that was supposed to expire after six months or a year; canny negotiators have been able to do much better.
All that said, your own TV provider may not be interested in bargaining. But if you have good over-the-air digital-TV reception and a fast Internet connection, dropping pay-TV service entirely is another option--one taken by an estimated 108,000 cable and satellite subscribers in the last quarter.
(For those confused by the "PostPoints tip" title: I archive each tip-of-the-week e-mail we send to members of the paper's PostPoints program under the "Tips" category here. Today's item went out on Nov. 9--and within hours, I'd heard from multiple readers who had bargained successfully with their TV providers. One noted the tutorial he'd written on the Slickdeals site, and another shared an extra tip: Comcast offers a small discount to Medicare-eligible seniors, though it may take some time on the phone to get it applied to your account.)
| November 15, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
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