Cutting Phone, TV, Internet Bills

Watching television … talking on the telephone … and surfing the Web.

If you're not bundling these services - getting all three as a discount package you could be missing out on big savings.

And the Consumer Reports National Research Center found there are other ways to cut your telecom bill. A survey of 69,000 readers reveals bargaining can really pay off.

Rosalind Tordesillas with Consumer Reports says, "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% got some sort of deal."

Of those who negotiated for telecom services, 40% got their bill reduced as much as $50 a month. Others got fees waived for activation and installation or were offered free premium services for a period.

But you want to remember to cancel these before companies start charging you.

Rosalind warns, "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."

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

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

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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