I just got off of the phone with Time Warner Cable. I wanted to cancel our premium channels. For as long as I can remember we’ve been paying about $33 a month for four sets of premium channels (HBO, Cinemax, etc.). We don’t use them anywhere near enough for that to be worth it, but we like things to be easy. We like to just record Entourage and Weeds and watch them soon after they’ve aired. The included on demand channels were handy – that is, when they happened to have something we wanted to watch. Again, convenient when we used it, but not worth $33 a month.
So, I did an online chat with Time Warner to make sure that I was reading our bill right: that if we canceled those channels we would save more than $30 a month. I was afraid that it was some kind of package, but no, the chat confirmed that I was reading the bill right.
So, after consulting with The Ass (who never needs to be convinced to save money) I called Time Warner to cancel. Easy enough, right?
But wait: this Time Warner guy on the phone was telling me that I would only save $5 a month! What?
Luckily for me, I had clicked the box that said “Send me a transcript of my chat session.” When I told phone guy what chat guy had said, he put me on hold and then came back and apologized. I was correct, he said. I canceled the channels.
See, the thing is, when I went through the automated list of choices at the beginning of the call to route me to the right department, I had to press the choice for canceling service. So before I even spoke with someone that person knew that I wanted to pay Time Warner less money each month, and it’s his job to stop that from happening. And if I hadn’t just had that online chat, I might not have pressed him. I might have just accepted what he said and kept the channels.
So the lessons? Oh, there are many.
- Take a good look at your bills and ask yourself if you’re paying for something you don’t need. When we signed up with Time Warner about seven years ago, we thought we needed those channels. Needs change, finances change, but we didn’t re-evaluate until now. If we had used the channels for a few months and then asked ourselves if we really needed them, we would have saved over $2,500 by now.
- Get it in writing. Whenever you’re able to tell someone “I have it in writing” you’ve got a much better shot at getting what you want.
- Don’t accept what the first person tells you if it isn’t what you want to hear. From now on, if something like that happens again, I’ll say ‘Thank you,” hang up, and call back again, hoping for a different person. Customer service reps are human, and whether they’re being purposely deceptive or don’t know what they’re talking about, you should confirm that what they’re saying is correct. But don’t ask that first person to connect you with someone else: that will give them a chance to circle their wagons.