PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - To save on television, Internet and phone bills, many people get all three services from the same company.
These bundle packages give you steep discounts, but only for a limited time. Then, bills often shoot up.
However, Consumer Reports said there are ways to save.
Do Pittsburghers think they're paying too much pay too much for cable?
"Yes, I pay too much for cable television," Courtney Lockerbie said.
"Yes, I pay too much. I would like it to be a la carte and they don't make a program that you can do that," Lucia Gilgovan said.
However, very few have tried bargaining with their provider for a better rate.
In fact, in Consumer Reports' annual survey of 21,000 subscribers, only 1 in 3 bothered to bargain with their cable company. But, of those who did, more than half got a better rate or more services for the same fee.
Leta Pegram is one of them.
"Once I did see that my cable bill was too high, I picked up the phone," Pegram said.
In the end, she managed to add HBO and other premium channels and still saved $20 a month. Other people have saved even more.
"Forty-four percent of those who bargained got up to $50 a month off their bill, and seven percent got an even bigger discount," Rosalind Tordesillas said.
Bundling services is another way to save, but what if you're like Kendra Bernard of Wilkinsburg and cut your landline?
"The way I use my cell phone is mainly for texts so I don't need a phone per se," Bernard said.
There's good news here too. Consumer Reports said some companies are letting you make a triple play with your cell phone instead of a landline. If you want to keep both, several major providers are offering "quad plays" that let you add your cell phone service too.
"Don't stick with the plan you've always had. Explore new options. Your situation changes, and you might be paying for services you don't even use all that much," Tordesillas said.
Pegram tries to negotiate every time she gets an increase.
"If I see that it's getting to a point where I can't handle the cost, I'm [going to] make a phone call," Pegram said.
Here's a negotiating tip from Consumer Reports.
If you don't get what you want from the regular customer-service representative, ask to speak with the customer retention department instead.
They may be more willing to negotiate as long as you're an existing subscriber.
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