How to Lower Your Cable and Internet Bills

If you’re fed up with paying a premium for those services, use these tips from a negotiation expert to get a better deal

Person speaking on the phone with their laptop open in front of them. Photo: iStock

As surveys of CR members have confirmed time and again, it pays to haggle. But it takes some skill to duel with a cable and internet provider, in part because there’s so little competition in many areas of the country that you can’t just shift to a rival service. 

So we asked Ben Kurland, co-founder of the negotiating service BillFixers, to give us some pointers.

“Most of what goes into getting a discount is just asking for it,” he says.

Here are his expert tips.

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Call on a weekday. That’s when other customers are busy at work. You’ll get shorter hold times, Kurland says, and, more importantly, higher-level reps with access to the best discount codes.

Don’t be too quick to say yes. Reps will give you the worst offers first, Kurland says. Turn those down, and they’ll move on to the better deals.

Avoid online chat tools. At most companies, Kurland says, the live-chat reps are lower on the ladder than telephone reps and can’t provide the best discounts.

Threaten to cut part of your service. That gets your call elevated right away to a rep with the clout to do what it takes to keep you, Kurland says. If there’s only one provider in your area, that may reduce your leverage. But if you have a bundled plan that includes cable, internet, and phone service, you may be able to use plans from other mobile providers and video streaming services such as Disney+ and Hulu to your advantage.

Get it in writing. When you’re satisfied with the rate, ask the customer service rep to send an email outlining the changes, Kurland says. If the rep doesn’t follow through on what you agreed to, you’ll have a document to back up your claims.

Editor’s Note: Consumer Reports began offering a bill negotiator benefit provided by BillFixers on July 14, 2021, to give our paying digital members a way to lower their monthly internet, cable, home security, and other costs. Members will receive a discount on BillFixers’ service. There is no financial relationship between CR and BillFixers.

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Octavio Blanco

My mission: To write stories that broaden readers' horizons and offer new solutions they can apply to their lives. Who I write for: My family, my friends, my neighbors, myself, and—most important—you. My passions: Music, art, coffee, cheese, good TV, and riding my electric bike (for now). Find me on Twitter: @octavionyc