Most people have heard about the option of bundling such services as TV, phone and internet together under one provider to save money each month. There are even websites dedicated to helping you find a bundled package in your area.
Bundling has been an increasingly new way to find savings on such services and ways to bargain with your existing providers. An article in Consumer Reports magazine recently reported bundling is “increasingly a buyer's market.” Some companies such as AT&T and Verizon have offered customer incentives to make the switch from existing providers.
Overall, it’s not a bad deal in my opinion. You can save a little money and still get the same services. Let’s discuss the pros.
Pros Of Bundling
By letting one company manage the support of these services (TV, phone and internet), you can save money, time, and sometimes avoid frustration in dealing with multiple customer service departments.
Need more proof? A Consumer Report survey says “bundling has satisfied many.” “Overall, 85 percent of Consumer Reports readers who get all three services from one provider said they'd probably (50 percent) or definitely (35 percent) do it again with the same company.”
If you're dealing with some of the larger companies, such as AT&T and Verizon, you may also have the option of bundling and additional service, your cell phone service. Having one point of contact in dealing with everything (and one bill each month) can definitely provide more convenience.
Cons Of Bundling
Certainly, bundling services isn't for everyone. Consumer Reports also mentions some services available to people in their particular area just didn't offer the services that interested them. For example, you may love your internet and phone, but don't have much of a desire for satellite TV. Depending on the provider, different bundling packages are available.
Also, some of these providers have been focused on offering single services for much of their history. Now they’re faced with supporting three or more which requires quite a few changes to their billing and customer service departments.
Personally, I've encountered a few issues where I've called customer service, but been transferred to another group who had more expertise in working my issue. It wasn't too big of a deal, but did take longer to resolve the problem.
Consumer Reports mentions some customers face billing issues with taxes and fees they didn't expect. I've experienced some pain here too. When I received my first few bills it was quite difficult to make out all the charges and how they were organized. However, I’ve learned the best thing to do in this situation is to continue to ask questions until you understand everything.
Overall, I’m a fan of bundling. I do think it is a good way to save money and time. Insurance is often approached in the same way. Bundling your insurance for home and car insurance is just another example that works. So, why not do the same thing with TV, phone and internet?
What are the best bundle packages to look for in your area? The Consumer Reports National Research Center says that fiber-optic services such as Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-verse are the best overall providers. Look for these first. However, look for smaller cable companies like Wow and Bright House Networks as they also did well in comparison in a recent study.
Tips for Shopping Deals
There are a number of things to keep in mind when shopping for the best package to meet your need. Consider the following when researching: TV programming, internet speed and phone features.
As with most things, try to understand your particular needs before researching. Do you really need caller ID? How much are you on the internet? Do you only check email or never download media? Then, you probably don’t need to pay for premium internet packages.
It’s important to do some research. Visit the websites of some providers and see what they offer. But, also make sure you pick up the phone and call to talk to someone who can help you get the best deal.
Finally, I like the 3 quote rule. Have your specific needs quoted by 3 providers and weigh them against each other. And definitely get a copy of any agreement sent to you via email or note the agreement and who you spoke with on the phone. Compare these notes to your first bill when you receive it in the mail.
What has been your experienced with bundling TV, phone and internet services? If you haven't bundled these services, what's keeping you from doing so?
Source: Consumer Reports Magazine