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How I cut $120 from my annual DirecTV bill

Consumer Reports News: September 26, 2011 02:58 PM

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Digital entertainment costs, like most other things, are steadily rising. So how did I cut back on expenses without scrimping on service? Why, all I had to do was ask.

My monthly bill from satellite TV service provider DirecTV totals close to $75 for two receivers with standard-definition programming and no premium options except DVR functionality for the latest set-top box. In my New York City neighborhood, I can get high-def programming (for one HDTV) plus much faster home Net connections from Verizon's FiOS service for roughly the same price.

But before I jumped ship, I decided to try Consumer Reports' advice on how to cut telecom bills: Just call and ask for a lower bill.

I knocked $10 off my monthly bill by simply calling DirecTV's customer service number and asking the customer service rep, "Is there anyway I can pay a lower bill?" While that's a third less than the $30 per month less that my colleague at the Consumerist got, it still saves me $120 per year—without a contract. And the rep threw in two free months of premium Showtime channels, again without any commitment on my part.

I could probably save more money by choosing other options such as a DVR for free over-the-air HDTV programming. But then I wouldn't have access to specialty TV networks such as CNN, Food Network, and FX.

I now have a nice chunk of cash that can go back into my pocket—or to explore other entertainment options that I might not have otherwise considered previously.

Paul Eng

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