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How to Cancel Your Cable, Avoid Fees and Keep Your Internet

How to Cancel Your Cable, Avoid Fees and Keep Your Internet

 Getting out of a long-term cable contract can be a real pain. But these days more and more people are “cutting the cord” and paying only for the shows they watch with streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and HBO Now.

The only problem: these TV streaming services require internet. And your internet service is often bundled into one contract with your cable service. 

So, how do you cancel your cable contract with companies like Comcast, DirecTV, and Cox AND still keep the internet service you need? 

It’s simple — if you know what you’re doing. And that’s what we’re going to show you how to do, step-by-step in this blog post. Here’s a quick overview of what we’ll cover:

  • #1 reason why people like you are cutting the cord on cable TV contracts 
  • Early cancelation fees from popular cable TV service providers 
  • 7 steps to cancel cable contracts without paying early cancelation fees 
  • How to keep your internet and save your landline number after canceling your cable 

Toward the end of the post, we’ll also show you how we at Community Phone can help you create a custom tv, internet, and phone bundle that’s more affordable than what you’d find from many service providers. 

Sound good? Let’s dive right in.

Why Cut the Cord and Cancel Cable TV

According to a recent report from Decision Data, the average cable TV bill sits at around $217.42/month — more than the average costs of most other utilities (electric, gas, water, etc.) combined

Thus, cutting the cord on your cable contract and replacing it with one or more streaming services, like Netflix and Hulu, can save you some serious cash. 

Just take a look at this table that shows how much some of the most popular online TV streaming services cost in comparison to the traditional cable TV package. 

 

Cable TV vs Streaming: Cost Per Month 

TV Service Provider 

Cost Per Month* 

What’s Included 

Traditional Cable TV Package

$217.42

Depends on the provider

YouTube TV

$64.99

Live & local sports, news, shows from 85+ channels including ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, ESPN, HGTV, TNT, and more

HBO Now 

$14.99

All of HBO's original series, plus hit movies, documentaries, sports, and exclusive comedy specials

SHOWTIME

$10.99

SHOWTIME original series, hit movies, live TV, sports, and more

Netflix 

$7.99

An extensive library of feature films, documentaries, TV shows, anime, award-winning Netflix originals, and more

Disney+ 

$6.99

Movies and shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and 20th Century Fox. There is also original Disney+ programming.

Hulu

$5.99

An extensive library of movies and shows from 65+ television networks, including ABC News, Animal Planet, Bravo, Cinemax, Cartoon Network, Comedy Central, Fox, Telemundo, and VH1. There are also Hulu original shows and movies. 

Amazon Prime Video

$5.99

An extensive library of movies and TV shows across every category, from romantic comedies to timeless classics. There are also award-winning Amazon Original Movies and Prime Original series

CBS All Access 

$5.99

An extensive library of movies, original CBS All Access programs, classic CBS shows, current CBS network shows, and live local CBS TV programming. 

* Prices of streaming services are based on monthly subscription fees for the basic plans of each service as of November 2020. The price per month for Cable TV is based on the average household cable package bill per month reported in March 2020 by Decisiondata.org. 

Even if you went all out and signed up for monthly subscriptions with all 8 of those streaming services, your monthly bill would still be 56% cheaper than the average cable bill! 

Though, you probably won’t need or want subscriptions to all of those streaming services. According to a report from OnePoll, the average American subscribes to 4 streaming services. 

But, as you know, to enjoy these savings as soon as possible, you first have to get out of your cable contract. And unless the end of your contract is coming up soon, that could mean expensive early cancelation fees. 

Cable TV Early Cancelation Fees 

As if the monthly bill wasn’t enough, many cable companies will charge early cancelation fees for trying to cut the cord before the end of your contract. 

As promised, we’re going to teach you how to talk to the service reps at these companies so you have a chance at avoiding these early cancelation fees. 

But before we do, you should know what you’re up against. Here are the early cancelation fees currently enforced by some of the top cable TV service providers:

Cable TV Service Provider

Fee*

AT&T

Up to $360, depending on how many months remain on your contract

CenturyLink 

$200-$300, depending on the length of your contract

Spectrum

$0

Comcast Xfinity 

$10 for every month remaining on your contract 

Cox

Up to $120

DirecTV

$20 for every month remaining of your contract + $15 deactivation fee

Dish 

$20 for every month remaining on your contract 

Optimum

$0

Verizon Fios

Up to $350, depending on how many months remain on your contract 

*All fees are subject to change. The cable TV early activation fees listed here are based on information found on the company websites as of November 2020. 

Alright, now let’s get to what steps you can take to cancel your cable and avoid these fees! 

7 Steps to Cancel Your Cable Without Paying Early  Cancelation Fees

Step 1: Find the Cancelation Contact Number

Most cable companies require you to call to speak with an agent to cancel your service. So, if you were hoping to do it by email, you’re unfortunately out of luck. That’s why this first step is to just simply find the right number to call. 

To make things easier, below are the cancelation contact numbers for the cable tv service providers we just mentioned in the last section. 

But don’t call just yet! There are a few things you should know to improve your chances of not having to pay those early cancelation fees. 

Cable TV Service Provider

Cancelation Contact Number 

AT&T

1.800.288.2020

CenturyLink 

1.800.244.1111

Spectrum

1.833.267-6094

Comcast Xfinity 

1.800.934.6489

Cox

1.800.234.3993

DirecTV

1.800.288.2020

DISH

1.866.974.0769

Optimum

Call your local Optimum service representative number.

Verizon Fios

1.844.837.2262


Step 2: Gather Your Account Details

Successfully canceling your cable contract doesn’t start when you pick up the phone. It starts with your preparation. 

That’s why before calling, you’ll want to make sure you have in hand your: 

  • Account number 
  • Registered email 
  • Registered billing address 

It’s also a good idea to review your cable contract so that you’re familiar with the terms and agreements that you’ll be trying to get out of. 

Yes, this stuff is all basic. But being able to quickly and confidently provide this information to the agent will help keep you in control of the conversation. And that’s something you’ll thank yourself for as you move into trickier parts of the cancelation process.

Step 3: Prepare What You'll Say

As you probably already know, the service agent isn’t going to make canceling your cable contract easy. Instead, they’ll try to “help” you negotiate better terms, troubleshoot issues with your cable service, and convince you to stay with your contract. 

But there are some things you can say that will be hard for them to push back on. For example, you can say your reason for canceling is one of the following: 

  • You are moving to a city where the company’s cable service is not offered 
  • The original account holder is deceased
  • You are moving out of the USA
  • You do not yet know where you will be moving

The first and third excuse will be your best options since they do not require a lot of follow-up questions. But even still, they may try to find a way to keep you on your contract if they feel there is some way available. 

So, stay calm and be firm in your reasoning for wanting to cancel. If you make it clear right from the beginning that there’s no way for you to explore alternative options, they’ll be more inclined to let you cancel.

For this reason, and because of steep pricing structures which penalize you for not having a full bundle, you’ll be better off canceling the whole service package instead of trying to just keep one part of it, like internet or phone service. 

But don’t worry! There are still ways to save those services or switch to providers that offer —in terms of price and quality — equal or better service.

Step 4: Prepare the Questions You'll Ask

Next up is making sure you don’t let anything slip through the cracks that could result in your cable service not being canceled when and how you want.

With that goal in mind, make sure to ask questions like: 

  • What is the name of the service agent? 
  • What’s the ticket number for your call? 
  • When will be the last date of the service? 
  • When will be the last date your account is charged? 
  • Are there any outstanding balances on your account? 
  • Do you need to return anything (e.g. cable box) to complete the cancelation? If so, when and how is the best way to make the return? 

The agent may share this information without you needing to ask. But if not, don’t be afraid to press them for the answers. Later on, you’ll feel better knowing you got firm answers if something goes wrong.

Step 5: Pick Up the Phone and Call

Alright, your preparation is complete. It’s time to make the call. If you’ve completed the previous steps in advance, this should go smoothly. 

But, just in case, we recommend opening up a document to take notes and record the representative’s answers to important questions. If nothing else, make sure to record the person’s name as well as the time and date of the call. 

If you’re directed to an automated phone system, select the option for either Downgrading, Canceling, or Change/Transfer service. That way, you will be forwarded to the Retention Department. 

Once you’re on the phone with an agent, stay calm and on-topic, using the preparation from the previous steps, so that the conversation can be over as soon as possible.

Step 6: Return Any Equipment

Depending on what cable service package you have and if it’s part of a tv, internet, and cable bundle, you may need to return rented equipment like: 

  • Cable boxes 
  • Remote controls 
  • Modems and routers 
  • Telephone cables
  • Power cords 

In most cases, if you don’t return the equipment, you could be charged replacement fees. Luckily, you prepared questions on this and took notes! So, if it’s applicable, use that information to complete this step.

Step 7: Call Again to Confirm the Cancelation 

Make sure to follow up by calling the cancelation contact number again to confirm the cancelation was completed. 

If the process is not where it should be, you have your agent’s name and ticket number from your first call. If possible, ask to speak directly to that same agent.

In this follow up call, you should ask:

  • Is there any accrued or outstanding balance on your account?
  • Has the equipment been returned correctly? (if applicable)
  • Has your account been updated accordingly? 

If anything is missing, you may have to pay a charge. So it is better to be safe than sorry. To really be safe, you may consider asking for them to send confirmation of the cancelation by mail.

How to Keep Your Internet After Canceling Your Cable 

Now, if you follow the steps we just shared, you’ll have a better chance of canceling your cable and avoiding early termination fees. But what about your internet? You wanted to keep that with the same provider. But should you? 

Maybe not: it’s likely that you could get a better deal elsewhere. Plus, since you’ve already gone through so much trouble to get out of your cable contract, why not keep going and save even more money?

At Community Phone, we work with all of the major internet service providers to help you find and secure the best deals. We also work with a network of smaller internet service providers. While less well-known than the companies above, these smaller companies often can offer you cheaper prices for internet that is just as good, if not better.

If you want help finding the best, most affordable internet in your area, just fill out the form below. 

 

 

Want To Keep Your Landline Number Too?

Since these days most cable network service providers package and sell your TV, internet, and phone providers, you may be worried about your landline number as well. But you don’t need to be. 

In most cases, you can keep your landline number through one of three options: 

  1. Parking the number for safekeeping
  2. Forwarding the landline number to your current cell phone 
  3. Placing the number on a new cell phone, like an old-school flip phone

At Community Phone, we can also help you with that. To learn more, check out our landline plans, starting as low as $5/month, or fill out the eligibility check below and see if your number is eligible to be transferred.  

Final Thoughts

When compared to popular TV streaming services, most cable contracts are unnecessarily expensive. Luckily, you can make moves towards cutting the cord on cable once and for all by following the suggestions we shared in this post. You may even be able to avoid paying any early cancelation fees! 

Once you’re out of the contract, you can begin to explore ways to save even more money with new internet service providers and ways to keep your landline number for cheap. 

For more information on how Community Phone can help you cut the cord and save money, click the link below. 

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that provides better cellular at half the cost.

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