Our internet 'promo discount' expires in 2 months. Tips to extend it?
February 11, 2021 1:01 PM   Subscribe

Moved into a new home, Spectrum internet came with a 1 year "lock you in" $25 discount (total is $75 a month). Our neighbors have horror stories about AT&T. The only other game in town is Cox, and their base rate is more expensive anyway. I'm guessing we're just going to have the eat the cost, but before we do: anyone have any tips for extending the cheap rate?

'Request this specific thing when talking to the retention folks on the customer help line?' I'm sure they get people asking this all the time.

Closing my account, having my partner open the new one on the same day? Guessing that's been done, too.
posted by ®@ to Work & Money (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: My wife has definitely gotten results by calling up and just asking if there's anything they can do for us (back when we lived somewhere that wasn't monopoly territory.) They generally want to retain you and if you're willing to sit on hold a while they can often give you some kind of promo rate.
posted by restless_nomad at 1:24 PM on February 11, 2021 [7 favorites]

Ask for "retention" - this article is not perfect, but gives some points.
posted by rozcakj at 1:26 PM on February 11, 2021 [4 favorites]

Closing my account, having my partner open the new one on the same day? Guessing that's been done, too.

We've been doing this with Spectrum. It's much easier if you have your own modem because then you can do a "self install" and leave all the equipment in place, and then just call in to the support line for the automated activation menu.

A few years back we also took a few weeks off from home internet just to stick it to the man, and then signed up as new customers. Swapping names is probably less hassle.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 1:46 PM on February 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

Before you make the choice, check which service at&t actually offers in your particular location. Their fiber product isn't bad. Their VDSL product, on the other hand is increasingly turning to shit because they don't maintain their infrastructure and are literally running out of line cards to put in their cabinets.

If you can get their Gigabit service, yay, it's fiber, and pretty damn cheap ($70 for 1000/1000 and $50 for 100/100 in most markets). If not, you can try to get Spectrum to give you a new promo by telling them you are considering switching, though you may or may not be successful.
posted by wierdo at 2:14 PM on February 11, 2021

Not with Spectrum in particular, but I've had luck just calling in and saying "Look, my bill right now is $X and I am happy. The bill will go up next month to an unacceptable level for the same service. I am not willing to pay more than $Y for this. Is there anything we can do about that?"

The frontline people you talk to only have very small levers they can pull. The retention people have much bigger levers they can pull. You can just say "I guess you need to forward me to retentions then" to get by the frontline people.

You can do as much as you feel comfortable in terms of flirting with cancelling to see what they will give you. How close you want to get to cancelling and actually walking away is up to you. Obviously if the retentions people think you aren't going anywhere, they may not give you what you ask.

There are also services that do this negotiation for you for a percentage of the savings. I've had friends use a company called Bill Shark before, but I do not have direct experience with it.
posted by cmm at 2:18 PM on February 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I do this every year. I wait for the day after the price goes up, and they pro-rate that month.

"hello! Can you transfer me to retentions?"
"Hello! I'm nervous about being able to afford my bill, it looks higher than it was before! Is there anything you can do?"
(Yes sir, it looks like your promotional period has expired, I'll extend it for a month / we now have a program that's $30/month for twice the speeds, etc)

It's honestly an 8 minute conversation with 7 minutes on hold. EZPZ! (Though, I do feel bad for anyone that doesn't do this. It must be a majority of people).

By the way, I've done this in areas with no competition. I don't think retention department cares.
posted by bbqturtle at 2:27 PM on February 11, 2021 [2 favorites]

I have done the “switch to partner’s (or roommate’s) name and “self-install” thing” many times with Comcast, Verizon FIOS, and RCN. Always worked fine except for minor issue where Verizon did the changeover at a time when I was awake and planning to work but their customer service hours had not yet started for the day (and the self help options on their website are the wooooorst).

Only issue is that some of the providers do a credit check that shows up on your credit report (although it seems like it doesn’t stick around for as long as, say, a credit card application).

I never had any luck with “retention” people even in places where I had multiple options.
posted by mskyle at 2:29 PM on February 11, 2021

All the above advice is good. I think they will take pretty much any reason. I switched into my own name after my divorce and got another year at $45/mo. Then I told them I had gotten furloughed due to Covid (which was true) and got it extended for another year. The key is to keep asking over and over again if there is any other program available. If ye ask enough times ye shall receive.
posted by HotToddy at 2:50 PM on February 11, 2021

I had already had AT&T come out and install fiber, and Spectrum kept offering me better and better deals to keep me when I called to cancel. Spectrums marginal cost for keeping a single customer is very low, and as such they are very motivated to keep you.
posted by rockindata at 5:50 PM on February 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Update: I called two weeks before the bill expired, retention was happy to give me this year's promo rate for another 12 months!

They said "we can do keep doing this as long as you call before your promo period expires," so I've made a calendar reminder for March 2022. Still a net increase, but $10 rather than $20.

My latest bill has the discount, though it also has a mysterious new $5 charge for "Wifi." Guessing that's the old router and modem I still need to return... will do so and call them back after. Thanks for the advice!
posted by ®@ at 11:16 PM on April 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

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