Reading the Fine Print: Promotional Internet Offers

You have finally found an Internet service provider that offers a package that includes all of your needs—example: download speeds reaching 50 megabytes per second—all for a fantastic promotional price. However, after a year of service from this provider, your price suddenly rises and you are left wondering why this is the case.

While promotional offers are quite attractive, there are hidden elements—also known as fine print—to these promotions that many people do not see when they sign up for the contract. Despite what many might believe, the fine print of any contract often dictates the overall experience individuals have with their service provider. Many aspects of fine print in contracts often reflect caveats to the promotional prices the service provider offers to people. Promotional prices are normally discounted offers on regular packages, something the service providers use as a major method for differentiating the company from the competition.

12 Months Only

On the product overview page of Xfinity’s website, there are two featured service packages: Internet Plus and Internet Pro Plus with X1. The Internet Pro Plus X1 package offers Internet at speeds up to 75 megabytes per second and television service with 45 channels and HBO as an extra. The price attached to this package is $49.99 each month. Right next to that price, however, is a little peek at the fine print that says the price is “per month for 12 months.” The full fine print reveals that after the 12 months have passed, the charge for both products increases to $74.99 per month, but only for month 13 through to month 24. The final service charge for this package is $81.95 per month.

For $45.00 each month with AT&T, people receive both Internet and phone service. For Internet, people would reach download speeds up to six megabytes per second. The phone service portion of this package includes unlimited local calling and nationwide AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spot network access at no extra charge. A service package such as this seems like a great offer, however the fine print once again shows that this price only lasts for 12 months. As well, the promotional price offered only applies to service charges. It does not include equipment fees, installation, taxes, or other charges. Additionally, after the 12-month promotional period, ATT indicates that the standard rate applies (specific rate not specified).

Time Warner Cable offers many different service packages, from bundles offering television, phone, and Internet. The Ultimate 50 Internet package offers speeds up to 50 megabytes per second for downloading, and up to five megabytes per second for uploads. This is for the promotional price of $64.99 per month, discounted from $69.99 per month. Just as with the previous two service providers and their contracts, this contract is only for 12 months. After those 12 months, the fine print on this contract indicates that retail rates will apply.

Maintain the Exact Terms

In addition to the limitation of 12 months until the promotional price rises to the service provider’s regular retail rates, there is another commonality in the fine print of service provider contracts. Many service providers also put in a note that indicates individuals must maintain all aspects of the initial promotional offer. The speed of the Internet offered in the promotion cannot change, regardless of if it increases to a higher or lower tier. Where data limitations apply, individuals may not request a higher data cap and will therefore have to deal will data overage charges should he or she go over their included limit. Another example of what individuals cannot change include phone services such as the minutes included for long-distance calling.

Different Retail Rates

The details about regular pricing service providers offer after the promotional period ends are not always completely clear. It often takes lots of research to discover specific rates before signing up for a contract, and even after the promotion is over, the retail rate will differ from client to client. Nevertheless, promotional pricing is always lower than the regular rates, which can get expensive, especially with top-of-the-line service packages.

The Takeaway

When signing up for a new Internet contract for a promotional price, remember to keep a sharp eye on the fine print and other details so that you are fully informed about what to expect from the service provider. Service providers make it clear that most promotional offers are only for 12 months before the period is over and the service provider’s regular rates apply. You must also ensure that you do not make any changes to the service contract or the service provider will terminate the promotional price early.

This is where Billshark saves money. As a team of expert negotiators, we will negotiate with your service provider in order to achieve a lower price on your service bill. After a successful negotiation with your service provider, we split the first year of savings with you. You can then enjoy your savings in other areas of your life!

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