Posts Tagged ‘Cable TV’

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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Should have got a pre-nup with Rogers!

A number of weeks ago, in an effort to continue to whittle down my expenses, I gave the nice folks at Rogers a call. Every communication service you can think of I have with Rogers.

They were kind and offered me a 10% discount across the board (with one exception) on my services. That was nice of them, don’t you think? All I did was pick up the phone, and they cut my expenses. Wow. Wish I could do that with my mortgage!

The only catch in this arrangement was I had to agree to maintain my services for another three years.

After pondering for a moment, I agreed. I’m not going to switch to Bell Canada.  We parted ways about four years ago after being together for twenty-odd years, and they didn’t really value my business it seemed. So I left. I don’t have a super-deluxe cable package, but I don’t have basic cable either. “What’s the harm?”  I thought to myself. I’m not moving. I’ll still need a phone and the internet. Giving up cable tv with the girls at home would be a hostile act. Hey, I like my HGTV too.

Fast forward to yesterday. Rogers sends a polite flyer in the mail reminding me of the wonderful services I have. How great their HD service is (I don’t have an HD TV). How provocative the programming! As I was eating my lunch, I wondered what the purpose of this flyer was. It wasn’t just unaddressed mail, it had my name on it. Eventually, I turned it over. Ah, here’s the message!

Apparently, Rogers, the mega communications company who pays their executives hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses, has taken on extra costs for programming. Specifically, they note their “costs went up 10% more than last year – one of the largest increases ever.”  They go on to say they will “absorb” most of those costs, and some packages will “only increase by 5%.”

Of course, my package is on the list to increase by 5%. Last month it went down by 10%. This month they took away 5%. Oh, and they have me locked into whatever rate they want to charge for 2 years and 11 months?

You can bet I’ll be giving them a call today. I’m not very sympathetic to a big corporation whining about their 10% increase for cable service. My house insurance is up 20%, my medical expenses have almost doubled. Groceries are more expensive. I pay more to turn my lights on and do business at home during peak hours. Thank goodness I don’t drive so I don’t have to pay the new car licensing tax imposed by the City of Toronto.

Why not even try and pull the wool over my eyes and give me a little more than a month after they talked me into a three year marriage? Should have demanded a pre-nup!