This blog is a way for me to share hard learned lessons about money with those who are just starting out on their own. I hope it's a way for you to avoid making the mistakes I made, and to benefit from my experiences

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Stickin' to the (phone) man!

I have DSL Hi-Speed Internet (the Slowskys not withstanding) with my local monopoly phone company. I purchased their modem / wireless router about a 1 1/2 years ago and have enjoyed reliable and cheaper service since then.

When I recently returned from a 1-week vacation, I noticed the modem was flashing all kinds of crazy lights. Usually it's just 2 or 3 solid green lights. So I knew it had lost the DSL connection. I unplugged it for 30 seconds and then plugged it in again. Same crazy flashing lights. So I unplugged it and went to bed. The next morning I plugged it in and the thing was completely dead. No lights at all.

So I called the monopoly phone company tech support and they inform me that yup, my modem is dead. It'll be $80 + tax and shipping for a new one. I'll have to call the estore to order. Not being too crazy about this idea, I check out my cable company. They're running a special for $19.99 a month for 6 months, and a $30 modem.

So I call the monopoly phone company again and tell them I wish to cancel. After getting the right person, they of course ask why. And I tell them. My modem crapped out and I'm not going to spend $90+ for a new one. I suspected they would cave and send me a new one for free, just to retain me as a customer, and that's exactly what they did. Today I'm looking at my shiny new, and free, DSL modem.

Moral of the story is, don't be afraid to cancel services. The only caveat is, you have to be a customer in good standing. Businesses know that it's much more expensive to get a new customer than retain one. It's worth it to them to give upgrades or improvements to keep you as a customer.

I routinely do this with credit cards and get all sorts of nice freebies. The credit cards will almost always offer me free money. 0% for X many months. Oh and by the way, tell them you want them to waive or cap the transfer fee. Last go around I got 2 cards to loan me a total of $45k for 10 months, for only a $75 fee. I made close to $200 a month in interest alone.

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