Help Me Hank: Keeping internet, cable costs low

Help Me Hank: Keeping costs low

Local 4′s consumer investigator Hank Winchester said the trick to keeping costs low is all about negotiating.

Companies offer discounts that aren’t always advertised -- all you have to do is a little digging.

“People don’t know what they can get," said Laura Blankenship, with the Better Business Bureau. "They don’t really know what to expect when they’re negotiating.”

When talking to a customer service representative, the first thing you need to know is to get past the first person that answers the phone. The first line of contact isn’t meant to negotiate. Their job is to solve problems quickly and to get you off the phone.

When you call, ask to speak to a service representative or a manager.

Before you call, research as much as you can -- if you don’t know the options out there, you have a higher chance of failing to negotiate.

Try to be flexible about services and be willing to use older equipment and technology -- they tend to run cheaper.

Another way to negotiate is to offer to conduct a survey for the company in exchange for some dollars knocked off.

“If you do receive a contract, make sure you’re looking at the fine print and you’re receiving everything that you think you’re receiving,” Blankenship said.

It’s a give-and-take and the company still has to meet their own cost of business as well.

About the Authors:

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.