One phone call, almost one thousand dollars saved.

Before my realization yesterday that I’d have a $15K hole in my budget, I decided to cut the cable in our house.

After we all had a long day on the weekend, the girls and I plunked ourselves on the sofa to watch some TV. Imagine our disappointment when there was nothing on.

Disappointed? Yes.

Surprised? Not at all. It seems this happens a lot, and we even have a PVR.

Sitting on the couch, I moaned about the price of cable, and my general lack of time. For the umpteenth time I crabbed “I’m cancelling our cable”. For the first time, I was met with two variations of “go right ahead”. There was a time last year when I struggled with this decision. Last year when I called Rogers, they reduced my rate a smidgen, but not a lot. Up until Monday, I was still paying $62 (including taxes) a month to watch bad tv. That’s more than $700 a year. A serious bit of coin in my books.

There are two TVs in our home. The one in the family room is a proper, 15-year-old Sony Trinitron. It’s the one that’s hooked up to cable. In my bedroom I have a $9.95 bargain from the thrift store, that’s not hooked up to cable, but my rabbit ears pick up CBC, CTV, CityTV and Global. Enough channels to lull me off to sleep when I’m laying in bed.

To ride the wave of my daughters discontent with TV, I called Rogers on Monday. When you call and tell them you want to cancel anything and they transfer you to their customer retention center. As soon as I told the nice lady I wanted to just cancel cable, she offered me basic cable at $18.98 (15.99 for basic cable, 2.99 digital service).

Although that was nice of her, I did complain a bit that I have to call and threaten to cancel for them to roll out their customer red carpet for me. “Why is that?” I asked. “We’re working on being more proactive to our customers in the future” she promised. I let her know that I was still frustrated. After a quick calculation, I said “even if Rogers hands me a $100 penalty for cancelling, I’d still save $600 a year by saying no to your offer”. It took her a minute, but she caught up with my math.

I politely grumbled a bit more…reminded her what my total bill was to Rogers, as a subscriber to just about every service they offer. Her lightbulb went off.

“If I could save you money on some of your other services, would you reconsider basic cable?” she asked. Naturally, she piqued my interest.

She went on to offer $10/month off my home phone, and a 30% discount ($15.30/month) off my internet service and modem rental. After some more speedy math at my end, I knew the whole deal would save me more than $800 a year. Guess who has basic cable now?  🙂

How do the savings shake down:

  • $183.60 per year saved on internet services and modem rental
  • $120 per year saved on home phone services
  • $548.76 per year saved on Cable TV
  • $110.80 saved on HST on all of the above…for a total savings of $963.16

The only frustrating part:  I didn’t call them sooner and tell them I wanted to cancel.

I would imagine that CableTV is a declining revenue source for Rogers. Customers with only one service with Rogers can watch Rogers Cable online. There are more and more affordable gadgets to allow me to show my computer screen on my TV. Why not do more of that?

The nice lady at Rogers customer retention did mention one thing that may concern some folks. She said that by August, the CRTC will make it impossible for folks like me to pick up local channels with their rabbit ears, without also paying for cable. I’m not sure if that’s true or not, but it’d be a shame for those who rely on those local channels and really can’t pay for basic cable.

In the days ahead, you’ll hear more about what I’ve cut from our budget and how the savings will help me shore up the gap in my new $15k deficit.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Michelle on May 12, 2011 at 10:41 am

    As far as I understand, in September people who have analog TV with antenna will need to get a converter box to still get a signal. Your current TV would likely count as an analog, so you would need the little box that costs about $100. I also get TV through the air, but I have a newer TV that has a digital converter thing inside it already. As far as I can tell, this means that I’ll still get TV come September when the changes come. Guess I’ll find out soon enough 😛

    Reply

  2. Posted by Christy on May 12, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Michelle is right. You will need a converter box in order to get local channels after August 31. We paid less than $100 for ours though. If you tv is new, it should have a digital converter in it. If you are in the market for a new tv, you should definitely double check that it has a digital converter in it. Some places are selling tv’s off cheaply that don’t.
    I live about an hour east of the city and we only have an antenna (on top of the house). Using the converter box we get about 20-25 US channels (they have already gone digital) and we get all the major Canadian networks too.

    Reply

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