Haggle to get the most out of telecom services
Glenn Derene, electronics editor at Consumer Reports
WASHINGTON - Telephone, Internet and cable customers don't believe they're getting much value from their providers, according to a survey from Consumer Reports.
Smaller companies such as WOW and SuddenLink scored high along with telecom heavyweight Verizon Fios.
The consumer magazine ranked companies for their bundled, Internet, cable and phone services and scored the companies on value, reliability and support among other variables.
Consumers don't find bundled services a good value but telephone-only service remains an important service, according to the survey results.
"(Telecom) providers rate amongst the worst services in terms of satisfaction that we survey. When you specifically ask people about value they score terribly," Glenn Derene, electronics editor at Consumer Reports, tells CBS News.
One factor contributing to the discontent is channel selection. Sports fans may want to watch ESPN and other sports channels but may not want Animal Planet or a jewelry channel, Derene says. But animal lovers may be willing to pay for Animal Planet but not ESPN.
Cost also factors in.
"Internet, television, telephone comes out to around $154 a month. We work that out to almost $2,000 a year." Derene says.
"That's more than the average household spends on clothing, furniture or electricity. And I think people just don't think that it's worth it. At the same time, they don't seem to be canceling their services at the rates you might imagine."
He recommends that consumers haggle with their provider and find out what competitors are charging.
"There's never a downside of trying to haggle with your providers. Get on the phone and literally just tell them, 'I'm paying too much. I think my bill is too high,'" Derene says.
Other options include cutting the cord.
Rabbit ears provide high-definition, free television for consumers who live relatively close to broadcasters. And Internet services like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video offer good content at a savings, Derene says.
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