How to Negotiate Your Internet Bill for a Better Deal

With the right strategy, you can save money each month on your internet bill.

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Last Updated: Apr 23, 2024
Graphic of a torn internet bill from Big ISP
Nothing is worse than getting a bigger bill than you expected from your ISP.
  • Negotiating your internet bill can lead to significant savings by leveraging your value as a customer and the competitive landscape of the broadband market.
  • Effective negotiation requires thorough preparation, including assessing your account standing, researching ISP options, and crafting a persuasive script.
  • Persistence pays off, so be polite but insistent during your call with the ISP, and don’t hesitate to ask for a manager if necessary, as different representatives may offer different deals.

Did you find another fee increase when you opened your broadband bill this month? You’re not alone. The notoriously uncompetitive U.S. broadband market has been driving prices up for years. Instead of struggling with your budget, you can get on the phone and negotiate your internet bill.

Most cable companies will offer you a better monthly price if you call and ask about it. Just keep in mind that you will have to spend at least an hour on the phone, call multiple times, and be extremely polite and patient. You won’t have to go it alone, though. We have the tips you need to negotiate a lower internet bill and keep your monthly rate reasonable.

Does Negotiating Your Bills Work?

Negotiating your bills can indeed be an effective strategy for reducing expenses, as it allows you to leverage various factors to secure better terms. One of the primary reasons negotiating works is the competitive landscape. Companies often face stiff competition in the market, and retaining customers is crucial. They may be willing to negotiate to keep you as a customer rather than risk losing you to a competitor. This competition-driven incentive can give you leverage when negotiating your internet bill.

Companies understand that maintaining positive customer relationships is essential for long-term success. Accommodating customer requests through negotiation can enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty. This can translate into recurring revenue streams and positive word-of-mouth referrals. Companies may have certain internal policies or discretion to offer discounts or special deals, especially to customers who demonstrate loyalty or financial hardship.

Consider what’s happening behind the scenes. When customers call to cancel their accounts, most ISPs route them to a retention rep whose job is to stop you from leaving. Acquiring customers is expensive, and losing you is a hit to their bottom line. If you’re paying $120 per month for cable and broadband, that’s almost $1,500 per year! It’s easier for your ISP to cut you $10-$40 per month in slack than it is for them to lose your patronage, and you get to save money on your internet.

How to Negotiate Your Internet Bill

Graphic showing a conversation between a customer and an ISP agent
Calling your ISP can be a little scary at first, but with the right strategy, you can get the results you need.

Negotiating effectively takes skill and is a tactic everyone can learn to do. You just have to know what to expect and be prepared. Follow these tips to go into your negotiation with confidence.

  1. Assess Your Situation
  2. Research Your Options
  3. Prepare a Script
  4. Call Your Internet Service Provider

Assess Your Situation

Your biggest bargaining chip when negotiating your internet is your value as a customer. Having a clear picture of your account’s standing is critical for an outcome in your favor. For example, if you pay your monthly bill on time every month, you’re in a great position to negotiate. Make a note of your payment history with exact dates to bring up during your call. Calculate how much you pay annually and quote that figure to your rep.

While most ISPs don’t require contracts for internet service, if yours still does, check to see when your contract ends. Negotiations get trickier if you’re in the middle of an internet service contract because the rep knows you’ll have to pay an early termination fee (ETF) to break it. You may be better off waiting until your contract is close to ending. Then, you can negotiate a new contract period.

However, if the cancellation fee is less than you could potentially save by switching or downgrading to a different service, you still have chips on the table. Some providers may even cover your ETF for you when you switch, which could work as a negotiating trick.

Comb your account history and make note of any promotions you’ve already taken advantage of (sign-up bonuses, etc.), as well as any price hikes that occurred during your contract. Make a tally of issues you’ve experienced from ISP errors, such as incorrect fees or uncompensated loss of service. If you’re already taking advantage of a sign-up bonus or other promotion, be prepared to explain to your rep why it’s insufficient.

Research Your Options

When you show up to a negotiation, you need to be armed with knowledge. Being accurately aware of the ISP options in your area and what others are paying for similar services can help make your case. Familiarize yourself with all the internet providers in your area, what plans they offer, and how much other customers on your current plan are paying.

The bad news is that a staggering 42 million Americans lack access to multiple broadband internet options. If you live in one of these areas, you may be fighting an uphill battle.

As you’re conducting research, go through the following for each ISP in your area:

  1. Determine negotiability. Review the options for ISPs in your area. Gather plan prices, availability, and service quality information for these providers.
  2. Call the competitors. Get on the phone with the competition first. Call every provider in your area and take note of what they offer. Call centers are a hassle, but the rewards are big. Tell them you’re considering switching to their service, and chances are they’ll offer a sign-up deal to get you on board. If they do: bingo! Your bargaining power will be all the better when you call to cancel or negotiate with your current provider.
  3. Ask your friends and family. It’s also worth asking around to see if your friends or family in the area have the same provider and how much they pay for service. If you’re paying more than any of them, make sure to bring it up with your rep during your call.

Follow this checklist to ensure you have all the information ready to begin your negotiation:

  • Current monthly bill amount
  • Monthly bill amount when you signed up
  • Amounts and reasons for any bill increases
  • Length of your subscription (to date)
  • List any service issues you’ve experienced
  • Competing plans and sign-up bonuses in your area
  • Sign-up bonuses your current provider is offering

Prepare a Script

The sales rep you talk to will probably be following a well-designed script and there’s no reason you can’t have one too. In fact, when you prepare what you’ll say ahead of time, you’ll sound (and feel) much more confident and you’ll make sure not to miss your critical talking points.

Simple, but effective. In addition to your script, write out any other negotiation tricks you’ve researched in the first two steps. For example:

  • “I’ve been a loyal customer for 15 years, and I’d love to maintain that loyalty.”
  • “Over the past year, I have experienced connection issues on 10 separate occasions. I can no longer justify the cost for the level of service provided.”
  • “I’ve spoken with members of my community and found a majority of them are paying 15 percent less per month for the same service. I would like my bill to align with others in the area.”

Be as descriptive as you want in your script so you are well-prepared to communicate smoothly.

Call Your Internet Service Provider

Now comes the moment of truth: dialing the ISP customer service number. To boost your odds, ensure you are polite and insistent as you communicate.

Follow your script, and whatever the sales rep says in response, have your talking points prepared. Remind them of your good account standing, disappointment with past issues, and everything else you gathered in steps one and two. If the representative won’t budge, politely ask for a transfer to their manager and check for any additional offers.

If the manager still doesn’t make an offer, you have two choices: try again later or go through with your cancellation. Different reps sometimes have different deals, so it’s worth calling a few times (spread over a few days) and canceling once you’re certain your ISP won’t negotiate with you on the price.

If your ISP can’t (or isn’t willing to) keep you, it’s the company’s loss, not yours. At the end of the day, you may have to cancel and switch your internet provider to get a better deal, and that’s okay. Sometimes, as a last-ditch effort, ISPs will fold when you make the cancellation decision, and if they don’t, you’ll get a better plan for your budget elsewhere.

Frequently Asked Questions About Negotiating Internet Bills

How much should your internet bill be?

The average internet bill varies greatly depending on your location, local ISP availability, and the type of service you need. Based on our research, we’ve found the average household tends to pay around $70 per month for internet services.

What causes internet bills to go up?

Internet bills can increase due to investments in new technologies and infrastructure by providers to meet the growing demand for faster speeds and additional services. These investments result in higher operational costs, which are often passed on to consumers through increased fees or usage charges. Additionally, factors like inflation, regulatory changes, and market dynamics within the telecommunications industry can also contribute to rising internet bills over time.

Are bill negotiators worth it?

Bill negotiators specialize in negotiating lower rates or better terms on bills on behalf of consumers. While this may seem convenient for those without time to research providers or feel less than confident in their negotiation skills, it may not be the most useful option. Bill negotiators charge fees for their services, and the savings you get from reducing your bill, combined with those fees, may not save you much money at the end of the day.

Are there any other ways to lower my internet bill?

You should always choose your internet services based on what’s best for your home. That said, look at your internet speed and usage. Do you need as much speed as you have now? Going with a slower plan may lead to significant savings. Do you pay for a Wi-Fi router from your internet provider? If so, consider buying a Wi-Fi router to offset this monthly cost. Ultimately, take a look at your costs and the services you’re paying for, and make sure that they align with your home’s necessities. If you’re paying for things you don’t need, make some adjustments and eliminate those costs.