Tag Archives: cable TV rates

Rising Cable Bills – Shrinking Customer Base

The cost of cable and internet keep rising while the number of customers keeps shrinking. For the first time, less than half of Canadians have cable TV from Shaw, Bell or Telus. That’s a massive drop from just six years ago when three-quarters of us had cable TV!


However, I couldn’t bring myself to cut the cord this month when my Shaw contract was up. But I also decided that there was no chance I’d be paying the $165 (pre-GST) I had on my previous two-year contract. (Most channels, no specialty channels, so-called 600 internet, time-shift and Crave).

Shaw no longer has a retention department that I dealt with two years ago. Supposedly every customer service person is now responsible for keeping customers – if not happy, at least staying with the company. The only real way to get a deal is to give your current provider their 30-day notice. You will always, always get a better deal as a new customer somewhere else. That applies to cell carriers just as much as subscriptions, internet and cable providers, and many other industries.

I went on the Shaw website “chat” to give my cancellation notice, because you need to always remember: If it’s not in writing it didn’t happen! This way I could do a screen print as confirmation. The agent certainly asked why, but only came up with some changes around the margin to possibly get my bill to $145. No thanks. I had three Telus mail offers to “occupant” in my hands and all of them were significantly less.

The Telus website had the offer information but no details. I had no idea what I was getting for channels, whether it included a news package, what time-shift would cost, etc. (Dear Telus: If you hadn’t decided to hide all the details, I’d now be customer!) But before I had to worry about it (since I had a month) Shaw actually called me! Within 10 days of my cancellation notice, someone was phoning me, and even left some contract options on the voice message.

When I returned the call the following week, all of a sudden I was down to $102 (giving up my $5 time-shift, Crave and reducing my internet speed from their 600 to 300, and after a one-time $300 bill credit which works out to a $12.50 reduction each of the 24 months on the contract.) That 38% rate drop, even if I had to part with a couple of downgrades) was reasonable, and close enough to the Telus offer to stay with Shaw for another two years.

Even if you hate the thought of haggling, or changing providers, give your current company their 30-days notice and wait a couple of weeks. Then you can re-decide if you want to stay put or switch providers. Since our numbers keep plummeting, it’s likely someone will reach out to you and show you some love…or at least the common sense of treating existing customers close to the same as the smokin’ deals new customers get!