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One Phone Call and $1200 Dollars Later

As I mentioned last week in Have You Spoken to Our Customer Retention Agent, sometimes a single phone call can save you a lot of money, but first you must make that phone call.

On Friday, I re-read the comments on my posts, and saw that more than one of my commenters said they call Rogers every time to get better deals, so I went to refresh my memory about how much I paid to Rogers for Cable and Internet access, and was astonished to see how high my rate was (and was annoyed with myself for not doing something about it sooner).

It was all quite easy, I called, and once I found the right person to talk to (after 3 different transfers), I got a young lady, who said she could help me out (this is after the first young man I spoke to actually did say, “… it sounds like you are thinking of changing your Cable service, you should talk to our Customer Relations team…” (I kid you not, a bright young man)). I started with how I have been a long time Rogers customer, the young lady then corrected me and said, “Sir you have been a customer since 1991” (wow that is a long time), so she got on my good side pointing that out.

Typical back and forth discussion about what might and might not be possible, and then the all important, “… I am going to talk to my supervisor, may I put you on hold sir?“, part of the game, and 5 minutes later she returned (my guess is she went to the bathroom and got a cup of coffee, but I can’t be sure of that), I was told that because I was a long time customer and because I have both Cable and Internet with Rogers, I was going to get a $50 a month discount.

This discount only came unless I agreed to a 2 year contract, but over that contract I will then save $1200 on what I am currently paying, so I am not complaining, that is for sure. I also tried to get something free on the Cable side of things, however, she wouldn’t budge on that one (too bad I was hoping to get the movie network free for a month or two, but c’est la vie).

Yet another example of what can happen if you just say to your service provider or bank, “I don’t like the price I am paying for this service”.


Buying your Cable Box?

So I got a call from “Rogers” a while ago asking me if I wanted to buy my NTSC (regular TV not HD) cable box. I had been meaning to return that box one day because I was planning on replacing the TV it was connected to, with an HD TV (since I don’t think you can buy a non-digital TV any more). The “deal” I was offered was to buy the box for $29, and then it would be mine (with a 1 year warranty on it).

Whenever I hear these kind of deals I start to wonder why last month if I had wanted to buy the box it would have cost me $100 and today it is $29, and the answer is quite simple, but spans a few business points:

  • I have most likely “paid” for this box many times over by renting it. Yes, this was a mistake on my part, I should have either bought it or returned it a while ago, so the box itself is effectively already paid for.
  • The biggest expense for cable companies right now, is the maintenance and replacement of set top boxes (cable boxes), however, if I own it, then I have to replace it later (I can’t just bring it in and upgrade it for free). This is actually a much bigger savings for the Cable company, because if all they did was supply signal and the network to the house they could make a fortune, however, the Settop box replacements and upgrades is what is killing these profits.

I ended up buying the box from “Rogers”, I put their name in quotes because I remember distinctly at the start of the call the person introducing themselves as Freida from Rogers, not a marketing firm (name may not have been Freida). I believe in the middle of discussions I was assured that this was in fact Rogers I was talking to, however, at the end when my transaction was about to go through, I was informed that this was “Zizabivits Marketing” that I had been talking to a “licensed Rogers agent”, WTF? So there was a degree of fraud involved in this transaction as well.

At the end of this I will own the box, which may have a limited shelf life (I suppose I could use it with an HD TV, but I won’t get an HD signal from it), and  if I want to get an HD box, I will have to buy one, but that is to be dealt with if and when I replace my standard signal TV.

For those who have not seen the advertising, all Canadian TV will be transmitted in Digital format as of August, so if you are using an Antenna, you will need to get some kind of box to translate the digital signal for your TV (so keep this in mind too).



Holiday Cheer: Volume 1 Sneaky Problems

For my regular readers, I am so lazy swamped over the holidays that I am taking some time off and putting up a “Best of” anthology until the New Year (January 4th, to be exact). Enjoy two Best of posts a day over the Holidays, and have yourself a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Today’s posts are diverse in that they talk of Debt and its ability to sneak up on you and how Cable over usage can happen when you aren’t looking as well!

I Didn’t Know I was That Far In Debt!

I have found two new guilty pleasure shows on TV. One is 16 and Pregnant on MTV (that one I can’t even talk about right now, I’ll save that for a separate rant) the other is “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant,” where women explain how they can go nine months carry a child and then claim they never knew they were pregnant. ……

Click here for the complete Post.

Rogers Cable and Overruns

One of the problems of having many computers around my house and having a large number of teenagers is that my Internet connection does get heavily used, but I hadn’t had any problems until last month.

Click here for the Complete Post.

All the Volumes

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Open Cables for Cable Companies?

It has been close to a decade since this decision, and nothing much has changed in terms of Cable TV, or telecommunications in General in Canada. The CRTC needs to stop the monopolies and make it competitive. Given the CRTC board is made up of former Bell, Telus and Rogers execs, not that likely to happen.

Rogers’ Cable attempts to lock out Shaw Cable from Rogers’ “turf” seems to have failed with a court throwing out Rogers lawsuit that Rogers claims Shaw has violated a “non-compete” agreement (that Shaw Claims they never agreed to). What does this mean? I really don’t know but if it introduces competition in the world of Cable TV I would be very, very happy. Currently if I want Rogers to replace my Bell phone, I simply call a number and it happens, but if I want CF Cable, Shaw Cable, or Cogeco Cable, that is not possible.

Cable TV
Hundreds of Channels and It Costs a Bloody Fortune.. No Wonder Cord Cutting is catching on.

Would this “open cable” concept be bad or good for the industry? I have no idea, but the CRTC felt it was necessary to do with the telecommunications monopoly that Bell had in the 80’s, maybe it’s time for this kind of a change in the world of Cable TV? Just an idea, but maybe one who’s time has come?

Right now, I pay more than $60 $120 a month for cable, and that is before I turn on the HD box (that I have bought from Tiger Direct, but seems to be lost in the delivery world), once I do that, my Internet Plus Cable charges will be almost $140 $280 a month, which is ridiculous.

My next steps are to fix my wireless bill, but the next service on the list is my Cable and Internet bills, so keep that in mind Rogers Cable.


Pay Per View vs. Blockbuster

Blockbuster? Video Stores? Man this is an old post, but still fun to read.

This weekend we finally tried out the Rogers Pay Per View system (to watch Michael Clayton, which I’d seen 8/9 of on an airplane but never saw the ending), and it worked just fine. I was impressed by the fact that I actually can watch it again for 48 hours (it cost $5.99).  We got this digital box a year ago, when Rogers effectively gave it to us for free (or 50 cents more a month), and it has been quite good and we have used it to my satisfaction.

Comparing the pay per view system to Blockbuster or another video store, I think this service seems fine. Was it worth $5.99 for the movie, this time yes, but I don’t think I’ll end up using it a lot. I still get most of my movies from the Ottawa public library, but I may rent one more movie in the next little while, but not too many more, I just don’t see the value, if I can get the movie for free from the Library.

University Costs and So It Begins

As my daughter has made a choice about which University to attend, now I must start spending money. I had to put down a deposit on a residence room, and all the fees I had to pay previously just to apply to the University, to have the privilege to send them more money later.

I will have to make a run to the school, which is going to cost enough, so my daughter can see the campus before she starts in September.

I have created a new category in Quicken to track all these expenses. Why? I am a masochist at heart, I guess.


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