The Retention Department

If you don’t know about “The Retention department,” you are missing out on savings for services many of us use. The Retention department is the last stop when you are going to leave your current cable, Internet, or phone provider. You can actually request to speak to someone in this department, and I have saved a lot of money over the years by negotiating with them.

So, here’s what happened the other day. The promotions on our current services were about to expire. Our services were going to go from about $160/month (a ridiculous amount to pay) to CHOKE, GASP — $250 (an obscene amount to pay)!

We decided that we were willing to completely pull the plug on everything but the Internet for 30 days, after which time we’d be considered new customers and be eligible for the best discounts (that’s another hidden tidbit that you might not know about). Seemed like a refreshing idea to take some time off in the summer, to unglue our eyeballs from at least one screen. We figured that after Mad Men, Nurse Jackie, Last Man on Earth, Game of Thrones, and Silicon Valley, there’s going to be a dry season a-comin’ anyway.

I wasn’t even sure about staying with our current provider if all we needed was Internet, except that it’s a pain to switch providers and there’s always fees and charges to start with someone new. So I plunged in, and when the recording asked me what I needed, I just said “Retention department,” and was connected with little wait time.

Those reps are trained to go the extra mile to keep you as a customer and it seems as if (from my experience) they have permission to more deeply discount services. By the end of our conversation, even we were astonished at the deal we got! We were keeping nearly all that we have now for under $100 before tax! We discovered that we could reduce the channel package without any pain at all, let go of one tv box, and dump the phone. Plus, we got a terrific additional discount.

So, I’ve given you all this detail to illustrate that if you are coming to the end of a discount period with your Internet, cable, or phone provider, don’t just accept that you must pay the increase. As recovering compulsive debtors, it behooves us to use the tool of awareness to know how much we spend on services, and take the time to ensure that we are getting the best value for our money.

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