One of the great (and easiest) ways to save money on your cable and internet bill is to simply call up your provider and ask for a promotion. I detailed this process in a previous post when I was considering cutting the cable. Fast forward to a little over a week ago and my latest promotion ended. The same tired routine begins with calling Comcast to continue my deal, only this time, I am not offered a deal. No problem as it’s probably just the person I am dealing with. I decide to call back again in another day. After that call, still no promotion. After many more calls, I finally get a representative that tells me that Comcast introduced a new policy in that they are no longer offering “rolling promotions” to customers. It makes no sense, but I’ll do my best to explain it.
A rolling promotion is when I get a six month deal on my cable bill. When the six months ends, I call back in and get the same promotion extended for another six months. After those six months, the same thing. According to the rep, the reason for no longer doing this is two-fold: first, customers complain about the variability of their monthly bill and second, Comcast isn’t making enough money on the services it provides.
Let me break this down for everyone. Basically, the average person out there gets a six month promo and doesn’t mark down when this promo will end. At month seven, they open up their bill to find it skyrocketed and calls to complain. Comcast doesn’t want this to happen so the logical solution is to end rolling promotions. Of course, this doesn’t take into account that Comcast raises its prices on a regular basis so your bill usually varies month to month.
The second reason is even better, that Comcast isn’t making enough money. And they wonder why everyone hates them. For the year ended 2011, Comcast only increased free cash flow 30% to $7 billion on revenues of $55 billion.
Comcast claims they are no longer offering these promotions for the benefit of the customer. I think that Comcast is going to change its mind quickly and start offering the promotions again. The reason being is technology. I read stories every day of people cutting their cable service and not regretting it one day. With the internet and some content providers, you can get most everything you want without the need for cable. When I look at my viewing habits, I rarely watch non-sports in real time. It’s usually at some other time via the DVR, so there is no need for me to have the latest episode of Modern Family right when it airs. As time goes on, more technology will make this even easier to do.
The one thing that has kept many people on cable company’s payroll is price. The bill might be a little high, but with a promotion, it is more acceptable. Put another way, paying $100 per month is worth the time I would have to use to research other ways of watching TV. It’s opportunity cost. But now that the bill is going to be closer to $200 per month, many more people will be thinking twice about ditching cable.
In the end, I was able to get $5 knocked off my bill. The current price sans the promotion that I pay is acceptable to me. But if they start increasing prices and still don’t offer promotions, I’ll most likely be leaving.
Readers, have any of you been able to secure a rolling promotion with Comcast recently?