| March 27
March 27 Time Warner Cable customers
looking to lower their bills would be able to hire "professional
negotiators," to squeeze discounts out of the cable provider
under a trial service being offered by Yipit, a New York-based
daily deals startup.
Yipit sent out an email on Thursday to a small group of
people on its distribution list directing them to a link to
submit their Time Warner Cable account information. Then Yipit
said it would have employees who are "professional negotiators"
try to haggle for better rates with the cable company.
The service is being tested as consumers are being hit with
cable bills rising faster than the rate of inflation and as
cable companies find it harder to hold onto customers who are
defecting to newer entrants such as Verizon FiOS.
Yipit was founded in 2009 and offers an email newsletter
roundup of top daily deals from websites such as Groupon and
A representative from Yipit verified the authenticity of the
offer but declined to comment further. A Time Warner Cable
spokeswoman said "there's no need for our customers to pay
someone to call us on their behalf."
The website cites potential savings of $564 per year. Yipit
will not charge customers if it is unable to extract better
rates but customers do have to pay a 20 percent cut of savings
if it succeeds, according to the offer on its website.
For example, if the negotiator is able to lower customer
bills by $30 per month, or $360 per year, customers will have to
pay Yipit a $72 cut.
The website also features some testimonials from Yipit users
including one woman who said she saved $600.
Consumer Reports published a survey of 81,848 customers this
week that found that 92 percent of respondents who called to
negotiate with their cable company were able to get some kind of
better offer. About 46 percent of respondents who tried to
negotiate were able to get a lower rate of up to $50 per month
Consumer watchdog groups have raised concerns that the $45.2
billion merger of Time Warner Cable with Comcast will
leave consumers with fewer choices on prices. The Justice
Department and the Federal Communications Commission are
expected to take months to review the merger, focusing on
antitrust and public interest concerns respectively.
(Reporting by Liana B. Baker; Editing by Bernard Orr)