UNITED STATES—This weekend I had to take care of monthly expenses and as a result it seriously got me thinking about a few things, specifically those bills that are not actual necessities, but it seems no matter what there are always unexpected fees that appear on that cellphone, Cable or internet bills that make absolutely no sense. And I mean no sense whatsoever. If I sign up for a provider of internet service and I’m told the cost is to be $50 a month, I expect just that. Not $50 for the service being provided and another $20 in fees that make absolutely no sense whatsoever, yet the company does its best to attempt to ‘educate’ the consumer about those unexpected fees it leaves some speechless.

Let me just put it out there, I don’t do contracts when it comes to a cellphone, Cable or internet services. Why? There is no reason to be locked in a contract, and the companies know it. As a result it puts the consumer in a situation where if they move or need to cancel a service they get stuck having to pay a hefty fee for needing to terminate a service that perhaps isn’t worth the money they are paying. However, I am here to shed a bit of light on things. You don’t have to just pay the price because that is what it is. There are ways to negotiate and change rates so that you get the best service possible. In addition, you shouldn’t be paying for a service that you’re NOT receiving.

That is the one thing that annoys me about Cable and internet providers. If you decide to randomly shut off my internet to perform maintenance 1) you should contact the consumer, the consumer should not have to contact you 2) you should not be charging for a service that you know isn’t being provided. The worst of it all is the fact that when you call out your provider they almost take offense to the idea that the consumer is attempting to do their best to navigate a better price for a service they already think they are being overcharged on? That’s why it’s a good thing to have options because if you don’t like the service being provided, it gives one the opportunity to seek other companies willing to deliver exceptional customer service.

We’ve talked about the issue of lackluster customer service in the past, and in this current day and age I only see things getting worse; the companies don’t care about the consumer. They’d have to see a massive wave of customers just terminate services before they catch a clue that flippant service is not tolerable for most consumers. I mean if you were to ask me a year ago rather I wanted to terminate Cable I would argue no. However, the past few months have gotten me to open my eyes to the fact that not much really comes on Cable and with Netflix and Hulu charging such cheaper rates to watch the same shows I’m already watching now, I honestly could save several thousand dollars a year by cutting the cord as some people have called it.

It seems crazy, but Cable is just way too much now, and when you add on all those unexpected fees it just gets to a point where you want to cut unnecessary expenses as much as possible. I mean what is the purpose of having nearly 2000 channels if only 200 of them are actually watchable. What does that mean? The other 1800 are duplicate channels. HBO is HBO people, HD, SD or whatever other silly perk or name the Cable provider gives in its attempt to make the consumer suspect they’re getting a completely different channel, please don’t be fooled by it. The same goes for those internet service providers who promise the fastest speed ever, yet the service is not as fast as one expects it to be. I will be the first to acknowledge that slow internet is a death killer for me and if it transpires, it’s like a sign that it’s time for me to seek alternatives.

Here’s the tip that matters most: you don’t have to continue paying for a service or an expense that is not up to par with your expectations or you sense you’re not fully receiving. I’ve encountered some companies that could care less if you leave, and if that is the case, I damn sure am not about to continue fueling your pockets if you don’t care about me. Put your foot down, make threats that you will cancel your service if not given some sort of deal or better price. When you’re willing to negotiate you will get the results you want to see. Consumers have much more power than they expect they do.