Advice and Protocol Home Improvement

How I *Almost* Never Pay FULL Price for Fiber/Cable Home Internet

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Right off the bat, the first thing you need to know about this tactic is that it ONLY works if you have at least 2 internet providers wired into your apartment or home, or if at least one other company is willing to bring cable or fiber into your home at little to no additional cost as long as you switch. Another way out is if a 5G or wireless company like Verizon is offering coverage in your area but the essence is that you need to have some sort of competition between providers before you even start implementing anything from what I’m about to tell you.

Since this is essentially a method of switching back and forth between internet providers, if your geographical area is stuck with a de facto monopoly when it comes to internet providers, then you don’t really have any negotiating power. Sorry if you’re in that situation.

HOWEVER, if you’re not in that situation and you have the sweet upper hand of competition between providers at your place of residence, then get ready to twist Spectrum’s and Comcast’s arms behind their back every year (figuratively of course).

In my case I can only pick between AT&T and Spectrum but that is more than enough. I actually prefer AT&T because they have fiber optics where I live, but sometimes they’re a tough cookie 💪🍪 so I have to negotiate my way through a better deal with them every year.

You might ask yourself why I’m not mentioning the other obvious problem for the people who are stuck in year long contracts with their current provider. Well, because pretty much every internet service provider I have looked at is willing to cover the penalty of switching before your current contract is over as an incentive so that’s usually not that big of a deal.

What you do first is you pick up the phone (yeah I know, this part sucks) and you call your current provider to tell them that you want to switch because another provider is offering you a better deal. It doesn’t necessarily have to be true, but that’s part of the art of the deal. In my case when I called AT&T they said that they don’t want to see me go so early (I’ve been with them for 1 year) so they were willing to take $5 off my monthly plan’s cost. I was not happy with the offer, so I said that it unfortunately doesn’t match the deal I’m getting from Spectrum (Charter Communications) so I will have to move away from them. Luckily in my case Spectrum was actually offering a better deal so I wasn’t really bluffing.

The very nice AT&T customer support lady didn’t budge thinking that I might’ve been indeed bluffing, so then I had to make the dreaded move. I say dreaded because it sucks having to rewire your Wi-Fi and modem with a new self install kit and these internet providers know that. It’s an opportunity cost that can eat into your valuable time that you could be using to do other things which in turn could make you more money than what you’re saving by switching internet providers. But if you’re a penny pincher like me who knows how to wire a modem and set up a Wi-Fi router in less than an hour, then keep reading.

An important mention is that you should only make the move if you know for a fact that the company you’re currently with offers a fat bonus for NEW or RETURNING customers.

An example of an offer that might be worth switching for:

AT&T Fiber Gift Card Reward Home Internet

Once you switched and set up the new internet provider’s plan you basically have 3 options:

  • If it’s a much better deal than what you used to have then congratulations, you got yourself a deal and you can stick with it for a while (usually 1 year makes the most sense)
  • If it’s a slightly better deal but switching back to your old provider as a NEW or RETURNING client would save you more money (and the difference in price is worth the opportunity cost) wait for a month or two and switch back.
  • If the price is essentially the same and the old provider has any sort of new customer discount then switch back after a month or two as a new/returning client.

If you’re in the last 2 situations, before you sign up again with your old/initial provider pick up the phone and ask them if they have a better deal than what’s already on the website.

In my case AT&T was offering the first 2 months for free and a $50 discount on their website but when I called the customer support representative, she was able to give me the first 2 months free and a $100 Visa gift card in the mail, so basically $50 extra when compared to their publicly available offer.

The reason that is possible sometimes is because these customer support reps or salespeople generate a high percentage of their income through commissions so they have certain tools available to sign you up with a more advantageous deal as long as you do it through them.

Here’s an example of their base pay and commission structure from AT&T’s careers website:

AT&T Commission Structure Careers

As you can see, if you worked for one of these internet companies you would be really hungry for any potential client that called YOU wanting to sign up, as long as you give them a slightly better deal than what’s available online. And if the company already put those discounts, tools and incentives at your disposal in order to make the sale then you would be crazy (or lazy) not to use them.

Long story short, Spectrum was wired to my home through the good ole coaxial cable which is ok-ish but has slower upload speeds than fiber. They also started asking me for very personal information like my Social Security Number and my ID which is bizarre from an internet service provider so I just switched back to AT&T which now all of a sudden saw me as a new (or returning?) client only because I closed my account with them two weeks prior.

But hey, if that’s what these companies want, you can always show up to them with a new pair of glasses and now that you’re technically a new/returning client you can get those sweet incentives. I would’ve preferred if they budged when I was initially trying to negotiate with them but I guess they had to see that I really meant it when I said I was going to switch.

Bonus Tip: If you’re part of a low income household you can also take advantage of the Affordable Connectivity Program which is essentially food stamps but for internet service. I never got it for myself but if you’re eligible you can get a pretty heavy discount on your monthly bill. As far as I know, you’re eligible if your household income is is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

By Stefan Bucur

Stefan is the founder and owner of Rhythm of the Home. He has 6 years of experience in home improvement, interior design, cleaning and organizing.

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