When Canceling Cable or Satellite, Get it in Writing

More of us are becoming wise and developing money-saving ways like unplugging from cable or satellite service. For the typical family, this saves $80 a month, or nearly $1,000 each year.

And that doesn’t include the time you’ll save by not parking yourself in front of the TV so much.

“This is great!”, you may be thinking. “Who knew I could save so much money from my paid TV service alone!”

Just because you may be thrilled to save all this money, you can’t assume the cable or satellite company will be equally excited to see you go.

When cutting the cord, most people call the company and cancel over the phone. They assume that after hanging up they don’t have to take any more steps.

That could end up being a costly assumption.

Some providers are so sad to see you leave that when you call to cancel they suspend your service for a few months rather than cancel it outright. How nice of them to assume that we’ll miss them so much six months from now that they’ll just start the service back up without our knowledge or permission!

You may even receive a confirmation email of your phone conversation, but you won’t notice this little gotcha until you read the fine print on page 34.

This is exactly what the desperate cable and satellite TV operators are doing. They’re bleeding subscribers and can’t afford to lose you too.

After canceling service, you typically have 14 days to return their equipment. Some providers send you a postage-paid box to send it back in, while others require you to bring it to their local office. Those who don’t take this extra step may notice a charge of several hundred dollars for a cable box and remote on their final statement.

Even when you do send the equipment back on time, the records at the cable or satellite company may become inaccurate over time. If they incorrectly show you as never having returned their stuff, they’ll send your account to collections and you may find yourself getting calls from a collection agency years down the road.

So how do you protect yourself against rogue providers in the cable and satellite industry?

There are two things you must do each time you cancel cable or satellite service. First, get an email confirmation of your permanent cancellation after you talk with customer service over the phone. Look through the email to make sure they didn’t simply suspend your account for six months. You may have to call back a time or two until you get someone who is competent enough to complete your transaction.

Second, before you release the package containing their equipment to FedEx or UPS, get a receipt showing when you sent it. Hold on to the receipt. Then if a collector calls years later saying you owe them for the equipment you’ll have documentation to prove otherwise.

Photo by ehow.com

5 thoughts on “When Canceling Cable or Satellite, Get it in Writing

  1. Good advice! This happened to me once. I sent the box back and for years they tried to get hundreds of dollars! A friend of mine tried to cancel dish service and it took her months. Scammers

  2. Pingback: Friends of the Family: No Spending Challenge Giveaway - The Family Finances

  3. Well stated. I fought with my cable company after turning in my cable box. Luckily I’d kept the receipt. The bad news? They made me drive to them to show it to them. I couldn’t mail a copy or fax it…had to come down. I think that was to verify that I’d never, ever come back.

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