Save Money With Bundle Costs

January 24, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
If the cost of your cell phone, TV, and computer services are taking a bigger and bigger chunk from your paycheck, Consumer Reports says it's time to shop around.

Here's how a buyers' market today means you can bargain your way to a better deal. To save money, Stacey Brooks decided to bundle her internet, phone, and TV services with one company.

"We're saving about $50 a month once I figured it out. But that's only for the first year. Because then after the year is up, the rates go back up," said Stacey Brooks.

Consumer reports just surveyed 69,000 readers about their telecom services. Of those who bundled, a whopping 85% said they would likely do it again.

"Triple-play bundles in particular can help you maximize savings and get nice extras like free installation," said Rosalind Tordesillas.

Two fast-growing fiber-optic services - Verizon Fios and AT&T U-Verse - received top scores for their internet and TV services. And both were among the better phone providers.

These days companies from fiber to cable to satellite are aggressively wooing customers with everything from $100 visa gift cards to free Netbooks.

"You can save if you're prepared to switch carriers or negotiate with your current provider once your promotional period is over," said Tordesillas.

That's what Stacey Brooks plans on doing, "We're going to call and say what can you do to keep us as your customer?"

"Go online to find the best deal in your area. When you call, see if your provider will match it," said Tordesillas.

Consumer Reports says check out the service you're buying carefully to be sure you're getting the services you want. For example, if you want to be able to watch football on TV, then your only choice is DirecTV, as it has exclusive NFL packages.

More tips to help reduce your telecom costs -

Ask to speak to a manager if a representative isn't able to give a better deal.

Don't pay more for a higher-speed broadband service unless you share a lot of videos or stream multiple videos at one time.

And ask what the first month's total bill will be, including extra charges, as well as the amount of subsequent bills.

Billing gripes, including higher than expected costs, were the number one complaint in the Consumer Reports' survey.


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