Are You a Savvy Saver? Really? How Much Is Your Internet Bill?

The following is a guest post brought to you by Blake Sanders and

So you think you are getting the best bang for your buck?  Let’s see if you are really saving all that you can.  You can save some serious money when choosing your high speed Internet service. Check out these money-saving tips from Blake Sanders of Broadband Expert and see if you are as frugal as you thought.  You might just find an item or two that will save you even more cold, hard cash.

Teaser Rates Abound

The price you are quoted for service may only be for a few months to a year. Make a spreadsheet for the complete time of the Internet service contract.  Complete that sheet with each month’s cost, making sure you fill in the increased monthly charges as months progress.  If you get a price of $45 a month for the first six months, fill in that amount for those six months.  Then enter the “normal” price for the remaining months in your contract.

Teaser rates may only last a short time.  By knowing what the total cost will be over the length of the contract, you may be enlightened.  Enter all the competing ISP’s into the spreadsheet.  Then you will be able to compare them easily. You might want to calculate the average monthly cost over the length of the contract.

Compare All Comers

Do your research and check all the IPSs in your area, most people will have the choice of satellite companies, at least one DSL provider and a cable provider.

What’s more, you can use services that will do the work for you at no cost.  One such service is Broadband Expert which will compare all of the services in your area.  You can save a lot of time with such tools.  Remember, time is money.

Read the Terms of the Rebate

fiber optic cable You might be presented with a rebate if you had to buy their modem.  Rebates can vary from 50% to 100% of the price paid.

Retain all of the packaging as you may have to include pieces of it to exercise the rebate.  Check the ISPs due date which may be as little as a week from the receipt of the modem.

85% of rebates do not meet all the requirements or are never claimed.  Get a copy of the rebate rules before you agree to buy a modem from the ISP.

If you live in an apartment or a secured community, check with the main office periodically for your modem.  You may inadvertently miss the due date and be responsible for the full cost of the modem.  A lot of rebates should be delivered to the address by the due date, not the post office date.

Follow the instructions to the smallest detail.  Read the paperwork thoroughly.  Use next day or other delivery options to be sure the rebate paperwork gets to the rebate house in advance of the due date.  Pay for a receipt of delivery, so you get proof that they received it on time.

Get a Modem at a Reduced Cost

Your ISP can supply you with a compatible modem you can use.  Try buying these modems on-line at reduced prices.

You may shell out considerably less than you are charged by your ISP.  Also try Internet auctions for good savings.  There are many of these modems available.

Ask some friends because they may have one or more of those modems tucked away.  They may even give it to you.

Install It Yourself

Ask your ISP to waive the install fee.  In order to add you as a new customer they may waive the fee.

Some provide a kit.  See if they try to charge you for a modem.

If you rent an apartment, you will probably not need a service tech to install the equipment.  If you are handy and own your own home, you may want to wire your house yourself. Having a friend help you will save you time and money.

The ISP may have a flat fee for inside wiring.  Figure out whether your time is worth more that what they may charge.  They may wire one location for free.

Choose the Correct Speed Plan for Your Usage

You may need a faster service for watching HD videos or transferring large files for your job.  See if you can do this:

Find a friend who uses the same ISP and service you want to get.  Stream some video.  If you like the results, go for it.

Check out this speed guide:

  • 3 Mbps – standard video
  • 5 Mbps – HD video at 720p
  • 10 Mbps – HD Video at 1080p
  • 12 Mbps – 3D HD video
  • 30+ Mbps – for multiple computers, laptops and tablets using the Internet, you will want the extra bandwidth.

On the other hand, try a speed lower than the above chart suggests; upgrade if you are dissatisfied with the product speed.  Often you will observe speeds higher than the service speed advertised and this can save you some cash.

Before You Commit

Before you commit to an Internet ‘indenture’, make sure you get everything in writing.  Whatever a sales rep guarantees verbally may be different from what the written contract says.  Get a written quote and also get an electronic copy which you should save in a safe place for future use for resolving disputes.

Bill Day

Open your bill as soon as you get it and review all of it.  If you do not understand the charges, look at the bill’s explanation pages.  Call a service representative if you need further help.

Your bill will look larger than you expect.  There are numerous other charges like taxes and fees.  Closely inspect your bill and you will see the additions to your bill.  You should be aware of everything in the bill.  You will see federal, FCC charges, state and even local charges.

Make sure you see the charges are correct for what the contract specifies.  If you notice anything unusual, immediately call your ISP service rep and have them correct the bill.  Get the name and employee number for the person managing your corrective call for future reference and or complaints.

Make sure the bill is changed right away and if necessary, get transferred to a manager. If they advise you to pay the bill look for a credit on the next bill.  Make sure this happens if they refuse to budge on an immediate correction.

Check your bill each and every month for inconsistencies – I highly recommend it. Make certain the bill is accurate if you have had an alteration in the preceding bill.  A correction may cause a computer to start charging you the higher rate and not the discounted rate you should be receiving.

When Problems Occur

Report each and every service problem.  When you find a problem using your connection, immediately start a written record of the problem, a succinct portrayal of the dilemma and the time the trouble spotted and the time it was corrected.  Note who you talked to and what was reported and the time.

When the dilemma or even nuisance is resolved, call the ISP service rep and have them make a note in your account records of the time the trouble was corrected.  Also request a credit for your troubles.

Keep notes on all problems.  Each time you report trouble or a service disruption, tell the rep of other times this has happened or your inability to work from home or both!  Don’t lie or exaggerate.  The more credibility you exude the more likely you will be able to get some compensation.

When the Contract Ends

When your contract comes to a close, ask your service rep to see if they have any specials.  Threaten to switch to a competitor if they decline to offer you any reduction in cost for the same service. Give the rep a chance to suggest a better price.  Have quotes from other ISPs readily available to try to coax better price out of them.

Change to a better ISP if they will not give you a deal.  You may help the next customer in line.

img credit: kainet on Flickr.

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