Bring up the topic of cable, internet or phone companies and you’ll inevitably have hours of conversations that range from, how someone got the best deal to how a customer feels totally ripped off by the high fees. In my case I went from feeling totally valued by my communication provider, to completely duped in a matter of four months.
Here is My Story
On several occasions in December 2011, my Internet connection failed. Once, I was told, because of an area outage, another because of construction near by that knocked down a pole and a few more incidents that my Internet provider could not explain. After one lengthy outage, that lasted more than 24-hours, I was getting particularly frustrated because I work from home and having an Internet connection is key to my business. I don’t believe in calling your Internet and cable provider to ask for a discount just because you want it, but I did want to be compensated for my inconvenience. I deserve to have the internet connection I’ve paid for, with no interruptions.
The Discount I Couldn't Turn Down
At the time Customer Service at Rogers was great. As a way to say sorry, Rogers offered me a deep 70% discount on my internet service with a guarantee that I would keep my internet service with them for two years. The kind representative went a step further to credit me back the days that I had no service. Really how could I say no? I was told how much my total bill would cost, including cable for the next 24 months. I was over the moon at the rate I was getting. I tweeted about it, sent kudos to Rogers Help desk and made it known I was a happy customer.
When the Honeymoon Ended
Then in March 2012, I noticed my bill had gone up by $5. How could this be?! I had struck a 24 month deal with my provider in December. When I called to ask them why they told me my cable package would now cost $5 more every month and there was nothing I could do to change that. I then learned the deep discount I had on my internet service came with a stipulation, that I had to pay the cable TV service at the regular rate even if it went up. They added they could theoretically raise my cable TV rates and I could not negotiate or complain. I can't leave and go to another cable provider either, if I did I would have to “pay back” the internet discount I was getting and pay an early cancellation fee. Even though I have been a Rogers’ customer for more than 10 years.
My Negotiating Skills are now Zero
I investigated what Bell was offering and found they had the same package for $35 dollars less, but Rogers told me they would not match it and I could do nothing about it. I’m still trying to leave the cable portion of my Rogers package because it was never explained to me that the deal was so restrictive.
How can they Break a Promise with no Repercussion?!
This is the problem I have with Rogers, they made me a deal in December that I would get a certain rate on my internet for 24 months but never explained that it included me paying the full rate for cable and that they could raise that rate when they needed too. They also never explained that the two services were tied at the hip and I could not leave or negotiate the cable without affecting my internet deal. I’ve never asked to break my internet deal, the one they were saying sorry for, I only want a fair price on my cable that other competitors are advertising or at the very least don’t raise the price if I don't have the power to leave.
What I learned from this experience is keep your cell phone at one carrier, cable at another, Internet at a third and landline at a forth. There are enough service providers out there to make this happen. The only service I have ever been able to negotiate effectively is my cell phone, which I have through Telus. It's because it’s the only business I give them. My main message is NEVER EVER bundle your Internet, cable, wireless and phone into one bill, keep the power of negotiation in your hands.