Loyal Customer Tax

My wife and I have been a Comcast customer since we got my first apartment in 2006. We know this, but Comcast does not, because we continually cancel and renew anytime we move. The reason is simple: they have a policy of punishing their long-term customers with higher rates. This is the “loyal customer tax.”

The idea of pushing higher costs onto long-term customers is a long standing policy across all businesses. Television providers (both cable and satellite) are some of the worst because their policies are so blatant. At Comcast, new customers can get internet their “Performance High Speed Internet” for $19.99 for 6-12 months, depending on the current promotion. For existing customers? That same internet costs $42.95. Over TWICE as much for the exact same thing.

The idea behind these moves are entirely based in exploiting the customer. The longer someone is a customer, the less likely they are to switch to a different service. This allows a service to continually raise prices, milking the customer for as much as possible. Yes, some will cancel out of spite, but a far greater amount will simply suck it up and deal. This is doubly true with services like cable, where there are no alternatives.

So how do you, as the consumer, deal with these shady practices? Unfortunately, you have to be proactive about them. First, do research. Find out the difference between a new customer price and yours is. Call up your service provider and explain your situation. Use words like loyal, long-time, etc. Talk about wanting to stay their customer forever. Play up your commitment, then go into how sad you are that you might have to leave them.

You will be surprised on what response you’ll get. Suddenly they will be asking you what you want. And here lies another key piece of advice: know what it is you want. Don’t try and shoot for the moon; be reasonable and ask for reasonable things. We recently called up Comcast and asked them to give us the new customer price for our internet. It took some sweet taking, but the customer service rep gave us another six months at that price. Not as great as forever at that price, but we’ll take it. We can always call again in six months.

-That is all.

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