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Save money on your TV, internet and phone bills

May 11, 2012 9:32:50 PM PDT
You might hate the bills, but many of us can't live without our TV, the Internet, or a home phone. Could you be paying less for these services? After surveying its readers and talking to industry experts, Consumer Reports says the answer just might be yes.

Watching television, talking on the telephone and surfing the Web: If you're not bundling these services and getting all three as a discount package, you could be missing out on big savings.

The Consumer Reports National Research Center found there are other ways to cut your telecom bill. A survey of 69-thousand readers reveals bargaining can really pay off. "Seven out of ten people we polled who bundle their services didn't bargain before signing up. But of those who did, more than 90 percent got some sort of deal," Rosalind Tordesillas of Consumer Reports said.

Of those who negotiated for telecom services, 40 percent got their bill reduced as much as 50 dollars a month. Others got fees waived for activation and installation or were offered free premium services for a period. You want to remember to cancel these before companies start charging you.

"Some companies are now tracking what discounts you've already gotten, so you may have to press harder. If asking for a lower rate doesn't work, let them know you're thinking of cutting some services or switching providers," Tordesillas said.

Providers may be more willing to deal once it's clear you're serious about dropping them.

"One of our staffers called and asked how to disconnect her service. She actually got 30 dollars knocked off her monthly bill and an upgrade as well," Tordesillas said.

Use these tips to make sure you're not paying more than you have to to watch TV, stay connected, and talk on the phone.

You might think that dropping a service like a home phone line will cut your bill significantly, but Consumer Reports says that's not necessarily the case. Before you drop a bundled service, check with your provider to see what your new rate will be because the savings you expect often evaporate.

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NOTE:

This report is based on an article in the current June 2012 issue of Consumer Reports magazine, pages 16-21. The issue is available on newsstands now.

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