If you’re struggling to pay your monthly TV bill, it’s not just because cable companies are charging more. It’s also because they’re getting more creative. There are new ways that they can get you to overpay for the same service—and even if you notice them, they may be difficult to identify and correct. Here are three signs that you might be paying too much:
- You’re paying for a bundle that doesn’t include everything you want.
- You can get a discount if you bundle your services. For example, buy internet, cable and phone service from the same company. They may offer you a slightly lower rate on those three combined than they would if you were to purchase them separately (like buying all three separately).
- You can get a discount if you bundle it with a friend or neighbor. If two people in the same household have different satellite TV provider services, it might pay off to switch to one provider so that both people get their own deals.
If your bill is increasing every month or several times per year, that’s not a good sign. If you’re paying a flat rate and it increases, it might mean you’ve outgrown your current plan. If you have a contract with your provider, that means they can’t change your monthly rate at all (or only under very specific circumstances). Either way, an increase in bill should be an isolated event—not something that happens regularly.
When this happens to you, your first instinct is to call customer service and see if you can get them to lower your rates or find something better suited for you personally.
If you don’t use a premium channel, like HBO or Showtime, get rid of it. You can always add it later if you decide to watch it. Most cable providers offer free trials to test a premium before signing up for the service.
If any channels are available on other devices (like Netflix and Hulu) and don’t cost anything, then keep those subscriptions separate from your TV subscription.
If there are other channels that you could get elsewhere at a lower price (like Sling TV), then cancel them too!
If your TV provider requires you to rent equipment, be sure to ask about the terms of that arrangement. You’ll need your equipment for at least a year, so you can get it for free or at a discount. You can also return the equipment in good condition and get a credit toward new equipment.
DIRECTV experts note that there is, “No additional equipment you have to buy.”
The bottom line is that you should never pay for something you don’t use. If you don’t watch premium channels, and your monthly bill still increases every month, it’s time to switch providers. You may not have been aware of all the ways your cable company was squeezing money out of you until now—but by reading this post and doing some research on your own, you can find a better deal!