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Posts tagged with: cable company

Cable Win!

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Remember when I talked about how my cable bill was going up and the whole headache it caused? (Cliff’s Note version: I was initially told there was nothing they could do about it; after a second call I was miraculously granted a new, lower, promotional rate for another year).

Well one of the readers said I should’ve gotten it in writing. They were right!

My bill showed up and what SHOULD have been about a $90 bill (maybe $95 with taxes) was for $118.60. No freaking way.

I called back and – shocker – there was “no record” of the new promotional rate I had locked in. After a long back-and-forth I got upset and asked to speak with a manager. I explained the whole situation and the manager was able to give me the promotional rate I’d been promised and to back-date it so I didn’t have this one super high bill. He said to call back in 24 hours and the new rate would be updated so I’d know how much I owed this month.

I did one better. I waited 3 full days. And when I called back the automated system said I owed….$118.60. I was livid. Absolutely furious that I would have to do this whole dog-and-pony show all over again – speaking to customer service rep, being transferred to a manager, the whole shebang.

When the customer service rep answered I calmly explained the whole situation. I started off with, “I don’t know if you can help me, I may end up needing to be transferred to a manager, but….” and I launched into the whole story.

So the representative asked me how much the automated system said I owed and I told her, “$118.60.”

Her reply: “Well I guess the automated system hasn’t been updated because my records indicate that you owe $34.62.”

Me: * stunned silence *

“No, no, no”, I thought. “That sounds way too low. Is that $118.60 and an additional $34.62 on top of it for something? What does that amount cover???”

The rep explained that it looked like they had given me a $150-some-odd-dollar credit for the month of August, so all that was owed was $34.62. After that, my rate would be the $89.99 (cable + internet) rate that I was quoted from my call that was, at this point, a full month ago.

I’m still a little skeptical that there’s been some confusion and I’m going to get slammed with a big bill, but everything the representative said seemed to make sense. I don’t know why the manager hadn’t told me he was giving me a $150 credit, but I guess that amount covers my “pain and suffering” for having to make these multiple phone calls over the past few weeks. Regardless, I’ll take it!

Soooo, since Sallie Mae decided to double-charge me this month and I’ve been looking for ways to come up with an extra $250 to put toward the car payment, I’m pretty pleased with this result. Instead of the $100 I budgeted toward cable/internet this month, I’ll only be spending $35. I “found” an easy $65 right there! Woo!!!!

Unrelated side-note: When I heard the automated system tell me I still owed $118, I jumped on Twitter and tweeted the company, saying how dissatisfied I was with their service and that they were about to loose a customer. I was thinking I might hear back from them (Comcast/Xfinity), but I didn’t. Guess who tweeted me instead….DirectTV replied by saying, “Ashley – we would LOVE to have you as a customer and we have lots of special rates right now! Can I set up a package for you?” HAHA! How genius of them to “follow” the Comcast tweets!!! The response was nearly immediate, too! I’m telling you – social media is changing the way companies do business. It’s crazy!


Utility Savings…

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My cable company sent me a letter last week. They have a new way for you to monitor your usage. Before I tossed it in the shredder, thinking ‘Why should I care how much I use the internet?’, I noticed the bold print at the bottom that said, ‘Why should you care?’

Gotta give them credit for reading my mind.

Turns out, you should take a look at your internet usage. Some cable companies are introducing limits AND extremely high usage could be a sign of unauthorized usage on your system. Uh Oh! So, being a natural optimist (Haaaaa ha ha ha ha), I ran to my computer, immediately assuming my usage would be high because some wacko had hacked in. A few seconds later, the usage popped up.

2 gigs.

No, not 2 gigs a day or 2 gigs in a week. I’ve used 2 gigs this month. And I’m pretty sure both those gigs are from downloading finance podcasts from iTunes. So much for my hacker. But it’s good to check every once in a while and remember to make sure my firewall is protecting me.

Naturally, I became fascinated with other utilities that let me live out my OCD *er* I mean, ‘monitor my usage to save money’.

Our water company offers ways for you to see how you compare to the average user. Their software allows me to monitor my water usage hour by hour so I can tell if I have a water guzzling washer or if my slab is leaking and I don’t know it.

My electric company uses ‘Smart Meters’ so I can monitor by the minute if I choose. They will also help you figure out where your energy drains are coming from. Old TVs? Energy sucking light bulbs?

OK, so maybe this new found power won’t help free up any time, but it will help cut down my utilities by zeroing in on where the biggest power/water/internet abusers are. And for all the sweet hubby’s out there, maybe you can convince your wife that the old tv is sucking all the power and you could save money if you bought a fancy flat screen.

Or not.


Computer Help…

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Saturday morning, I woke up and tried to click on my favorite internet news site.

‘YOUR COMPUTER HAS LOST CONNECTION WITH THE INTERNET’ blared across my screen.

A five minute phone call to my internet provider later, I discovered my wireless router had died. Sure, my router is older than most sixth graders but I had hoped it would hang on until I was debt free – such a selfish router not to consider my finances before dying. But alas, in government terms, the router has ‘reached the end of its useful life’.

So, I did what I do best when it comes to broken things in my home, I kept my mouth shut and hoped no one would notice. In a crunch, I could bike to our local library to write the blog.

Thirty seconds after I made my decision to hide it, my brother shouted, ‘The internet is down! Do you want me to call the cable company? I’ve got a report to write for work.’

Darn.

I dragged my desktop computer halfway into the hallway and the Ethernet cable the other half distance to serve as a makeshift internet station. My brother isn’t necessarily pleased since he usually surfs the internet from the comfort of his room and given the fact that he pays half the bill, I need to fix it.

I am writing this blog from the ‘comfort’ of my makeshift internet station with my body jimmied between the hallway, the office, and the bathroom. I’ve tripped my husband 14 times and I have a nasty bruise on my leg. My brother keeps asking when I’m getting off the computer so he can write his work report. For my sanity and the sanity of those I live with…

Where is the best (code word – CHEAPEST) place to get a router?


Ways to get by while on unemployment…

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My budget was already threadbare but living with 50% less salary and on unemployment benefits has forced us to find ways to somehow reduce more.

First, we cut our dental and vision insurance. This is something that can easily be re-instated but the $25 a month can help me now.

Second, I cancelled all my appointments health related or otherwise. None of my appointments were an emergency and I requested that my doctor renew my prescriptions without the annual check-up since the last 6 years have been clear of any problems. These appointments and tests run in the neighborhood of $500.

Third, I called my cable company to cancel our cable, reduce our internet speed, and reduce our phone service. I explained our situation and was surprised when they offered reduced internet costs, reduced phone costs, and added free services and free channels for a 12 month period. I would tell you how much I’m paying – but I’m afraid they’ll figure out they made a huge mistake and ‘correct’ the discount… or fire the guy who gave it to me. I would have cut out the internet and phone entirely but my husband needs internet for school purposes and job searching late at night when he gets home (free internet at the library is closed) and I’m uncomfortable without a home phone for emergencies.

Fourth, I contacted my student loan company for a deferment.

Fifth, my husband and I contacted friends and family and let them know we’d be available for odd jobs. Since unemployment doesn’t start for nearly a month after a job loss, my husband has done everything from pulling weeds to insulating walls. I have been helping a company with paperwork at night after work. We use this money for groceries and for the important bills like electric and water. At no time should you feel you are ‘too good’ for any type of job.

Sixth, we cut off all our subscriptions and memberships. If you’re like us, you may not even remember you have some of them since they are automatically billed to your credit card and you may not look at each item on your online statement. Some examples: gym memberships, club memberships, magazine and newspaper subscriptions (some automatically renew unless you cancel). Savings – $50 a month.

Seventh, we’ve been using more public transportation. It takes twice as long to get somewhere, it’s uncomfortable, and it’s far from fun, but it saves $50-$75 a month.

It’s not a lot, but each item buys us a little more time.