A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my hopes to cut the cord on cable TV. I would really like to cut the cord, but as a huge sports fan, I'm realizing that it's not as easy as I was hoping. The latest reminder is March Madness. I'm a huge fan of this annual sporting event—it's the best event of the year, in my opinion—and without cable TV, it's almost impossible to get many of the games (legally). CBS is streaming the games they will be airing for free, but the other networks aren't following suit. In fact, we've actually gone backwards with March Madness over the past few years, especially in Canada. There is an iOS app in the US App Store called March Madness Live, that let's you watch all the games on your iPhone or iPad if you can prove you have a valid cable subscription—like HBO Go. The app was available in Canada back in 2011 and was 100% free (ad supported), but it hasn't been available in Canada for the past 3 years. You didn't have to prove you had a cable subscription or anything like that. It was amazing. I was watching games on my TV and keeping an eye on a second game on my iPad. But, it was removed from the Canadian App Store prior to the 2012 tournament and hasn't come back since. Even if you have a US iTunes account and can download the app, you would still have other hoops to jump through to try to validate a cable subscription. It's very frustrating to be further behind than we were 3 years ago.
I was this close to cutting the cord 2 weeks ago. I actually called my cable provider and straight up told them I was cancelling. I wasn't even bluffing to get a better deal, like I've suggested in the past. I was really ready to cancel. I was already on a "retentions" plan (a deal they gave me before to keep me from cancelling), and I thought it was a deal that had a 2 year term attached, so I was worried that there might be some kind of cancellation fee. It turned out there was no fee and the deal was still good until November. I was already paying only $76 after tax for a great cable package (pretty much everything except the movie channels) with 2 cable boxes, including 1 DVR. But as we progressed through the cancellation process, the customer relations rep kept trying to sweeten the deal to get me to stay. In the end, I didn't cancel, but got another $24 per month off my bill. My new cable bill is only $52 per month and I didn't lose anything that I already had. So, I'm saving another almost $300 per year and I can still cancel at any time. I may very well still cancel after March Madness is over, but in the mean time I'm saving a few bucks during the tournament. The deal is also good for 2 more years.
In the end, the process of trying to cancel just further reinforced for me that everyone should call to cancel at least once per year. I do it more often than that, and somehow get a better deal every time. In the past few months alone I've saved about $40 off of my combined wireless plan and $24 off of cable. The key is to be convincing and polite. Don't cancel because you're angry, cancel because you've found a better deal or want to save money. They will try to give you a better deal and usually can.