Let’s be honest. Cable TV doesn’t have the same pizzazz it had 20 years ago.
Today, cutting the cord is a popular way to save money. With fast internet speeds, it’s easier and cheaper to watch subscription services like Netflix. If you can avoid cable cancellation fees, making the switch can be painless and inexpensive.
You already know the benefits of canceling cable TV. But, that doesn’t you can cancel your contract for free. In some cases, your cancellation fee can cost more than your cable bill! The good news is, you don’t always have to pay the fee.
The Best Way to Avoid TV Cancellation Fees
If you’re still under contract, expect to pay an early termination fee. For most cable providers, this fee can be up to $200.
For that reason, your best option may be to wait until your contract ends. You might have to pay a disconnect fee to cancel your service, but you avoid the early termination fee.
But, if you’re in the middle of a contract, you need to dig deeper.
Read the Contract
Like any contract, the terms and conditions are a legal document. If you quit paying without permission, and you continue to refuse to pay, you can damage your credit score. And, a court can order you to pay late fees too.
This means you have to work hard to avoid cancellation fees.
Before you call customer service, read the terms and conditions. First, look for any clauses that waive the cancellation fee.
Some legitimate reasons that may work include:
- Constant outages
- Removal of channels
- Unexpected fee increases
- Breach of contract
Then, write the reasons you’re canceling on a piece of paper. If possible, gather any paper evidence you may need. Preparing gives you the best chance to avoid fees.
Compare TV Cancellation Fees to Bundling Fees
Sometimes, it’s cheaper to keep your current cable TV plan. For instance, the best rates might be for TV, internet and phone bundles. Once you drop cable TV and go to a plan that just includes internet and phone, your new monthly payment might be higher for those products. However, this isn’t always the case.
It’s good to know the service and bundle prices before you call as well. After all, knowledge is power.
Call the Cable Company to Cancel Your Contract
Remember, the cable company wants to keep your business. Often, it will offer a lower rate to keep you. Maybe, this is the latest teaser rate. Or, it can be a previous rate you had.
Before you call, establish the most you’re willing to pay to cancel your contract. If the cable company lets you cancel, you must be ready to commit. But, only agree if their terms mesh with your terms.
Return Your Cable Accessories
After you cancel, there’s one more step to avoid TV cancellation fees. Most likely, you need to drop your cable box off at your local office.
If you don’t return before the deadline, you buy any unreturned equipment. Unless you restart your cable services, the devices are useless.
Alternative: Use Trim to Lower Your Cable TV Subscription Fee
If all that sounds like too much work, consider using Trim. This service is free to join. After joining, Trim can help you save money on these bills:
- Cable TV
- Home Internet
- Cell Phone
- Car Insurance
First, you need to connect your cable TV account to Trim. After this, a Trim agent will call the cable company to lower your bill. They can even cancel your service for you if you choose to.
If they succeed in lowering your bill, Trim keeps a 25% success fee. But you’ll at least save time by not calling the cable company yourself. Plus, you won’t have to wait 30 minutes to talk to an agent, as I did when canceling my plan.
Alternatives to Cable TV
Cable TV is convenient. And, adjusting to life without cable can be difficult at first. But, it’s possible to watch the same channels for a lot less money!
Before you cut the cord, try at least one of these alternatives first. We don’t want to see you pay more money to reconnect your cable if you find you don’t like the alternatives. So, it’s better test alternatives first. These services come with a free trial, so you can try them 100% risk-free.
Today you plenty of options to watch cable TV shows online. You can even watch some of them for free. When your home internet speed is at least 5 Mbps, you can stream cable TV at home.
With a cable streaming app, you never have to pay cancellation fees again! With all of these services, you pay by the month. If you don’t like one, you can simply unsubscribe at the end of the month. And if you change your mind, you won’t have to pay a fee to restart your subscription.
Buy an HDTV Antenna
One common reason people keep their cable is to watch the local channels. If local channels are important to you, buy an HDTV antenna.
In some cases, the picture quality is clearer with an antenna. You can either buy an outdoor or indoor antenna. The answer depends on how far you live from the broadcast towers.
To find out, visit Antenna Web and enter your street address.
Even if you live 80 miles away, you can still get reception with an HDTV outdoor antenna. Even some indoor HDTV antennas have a range of up to 70 miles.
In addition to the main local channels, you can watch many sub-channels. For example, this might be channel 10.3 or 8.4. These channels may air movies, old TV shows, or reality shows. In a large city, you can watch over 100 channels. For example, Phoenix offers 107 over-the-air channels!
Regardless of the antenna you choose, it plugs directly into your TV. After the one-time purchase, you may never pay to watch TV again.
Hulu might be the most complete alternative to cable TV. After all, the major networks all own a partial stake in Hulu. This means they are willing to let you watch their channels.
You have two streaming plan options on Hulu.
Hulu with Live TV ($39.99 per month)
To replace cable TV, go with Hulu with Live TV. After a 7-day free trial, you pay $39.99 per month. If you’re paying $100 a month for cable, that means you can have an extra $60 in your pocket each month. And, you can watch most of the channels you watch now!
You can stream over 50 cable channels live on Hulu including:
- Fox Sports
With these channels, you can still watch your favorite sports teams. And, you can still access your favorite lifestyle programs, too.
You also get 50 hours of cloud DVR storage. Not having a DVR is another reason people sometimes keep cable, but that reason goes away if you get Hulu. And, you can watch Hulu on two screens at once.
Plus, you can also add on premium movie networks for a fee if you want. These networks include HBO, Cinemax and Showtime.
Finally, you get access to the complete Hulu on-demand library. This includes the original Hulu shows and movies. And, many movies and shows from the major networks.
Hulu ($5.99 per month)
If you don’t need live TV or cloud DVR, choose the on-demand Hulu plan. For $5.99 per month, you can watch the entire Hulu library on-demand. So, you might have to wait a day to watch the latest episode. But, you now watch your favorite shows for only $6 a month.
And, you can also add on the premium movie networks.
So, will you choose Hulu or Hulu Plus (Hulu with Live TV)?
One of the first cable streaming apps was Sling TV. It also happens to be one of the most affordable alternatives to cable. In fact, Sling is the cheapest way to watch ESPN. You will only pay $25 per month.
When you join, you must pick one channel package. Both the Sling Orange and Sling Blue plans cost $25 per month. Or, you can get both for $40 per month. Then, you can add extra package themes for $5 per month.
For Cloud DVR, you will need to pay $5 per month extra. If you choose either the Orange or Blue plan, Sling can be cheaper than Hulu. And, you still get the channels you like.
The Sling Orange and Blue plans both cost $25 per month. But, you will need to decide what channels you want to stream.
Sling Orange ($25 per month)
This package is the most affordable way to watch the Disney or ESPN networks. As a tradeoff, you can’t access the Fox networks like FX or Fox Sports.
And, you can only stream on one device at once. To stream on multiple devices, you need one of the other two plans.
Sling Blue ($25 per month)
Even though they cost the same amount, Sling Blue has more channels than the Orange Plan. Mostly, this is because you can’t stream Disney or ESPN.
You may want Sling Blue to stream these channels:
- FS1 and FS2
- NFL Network
- Local channels
In select cities, Sling also streams your local Fox and NBC affiliate. But if local channels are all you want, you may be better off installing an HDTV antenna. This way, you get all of your local channels for free.
Sling Add-On Packages
Besides $25 cable-channel plans, “a la carte” pricing is Sling’s mantra. Starting at $5 a month, you can add channel themes to your basic plan. Depending on how many you choose, the add-ons may still be cheaper than your current cable TV plan.
To see all your streaming options, check out our Sling TV review.
CBS All Access ($5.99 per month)
Sometimes you might not get CBS from your HDTV antenna. Or, your cable streaming app doesn’t offer your local affiliate.
With CBS All Access, you can stream your local CBS channel. You can stream past and present CBS shows and movies, too. For instance, you can watch the original Star Trek series. In fact, you have access to more than 10,000 episodes of CBS content!
CBS All Access has two different plan options:
- Limited Commercials: $5.99 per month
- No Commercials: $9.99 per month
With the commercial-free plan, you can also watch videos offline.
For Live TV, you will still have commercial breaks with either plan. Select shows have brief promotional breaks, too.
If you sign up for an annual plan, you can save 15%. Although it’s a contract, it’s still cheaper than TV cancellation fees.
Amazon Prime ($12.99 per month)
One underused Amazon Prime benefit is Prime Video. Although it doesn’t have live TV options (yet), you can watch on-demand content. And its movie and TV show catalog continues to grow.
Along with free videos, you can also listen to free music.
If a $12.99 a month is out of your budget, try getting Amazon Prime for free.
Tip: Hulu can offer more on-demand shows and movies you like for a lower price.
Pure Flix ($10.99 per month)
Everyone knows about streaming movies and TV shows on Netflix. But, what if you want a family-friendly option? This is where Pure Flix comes into the picture.
Pure Flix lets you stream plenty of Christian and family-friendly content. Its library contains popular movies and TV shows. It also has exclusive content you won’t find anywhere else.
For instance, you can find most of the Kendrick Brothers films on Pure Flix. You’ll see many other new releases too. Plus, Pure Flix has a large library of children’s content.
Finally, you can also stream Pure Flix on five devices at once! Compared to other streaming apps, this is a generous feature.
Philo TV ($16 per month)
Not all people need sports channels. If that’s you, check out Philo. It’s even cheaper than Sling TV. For $16 a month, you can stream 40 cable channels. Some of these channels include:
- Paramount Network
Besides the bargain price, you also enjoy unlimited DVR storage. And, you can stream on three devices at once.
FuboTV ($44.99 per month)
In most cases, sports packages are some of the most expensive plans. Cable companies know they have a monopoly on sports channels. But, that’s starting to change.
FuboTV streams those unique sports channels for only $44.99 a month. With the basic Fubo package, you can watch more than 80 channels. Most of the channels stream different sports. But, you can also watch non-sports cable channels and local TV channels on Fubo.
If you’re a sports fan, Fubo is probably your best option. You get most of the lifestyle channels that Hulu Live and Sling both offer. Plus, you get these sports extras, too:
- BeIn Sports
- Eleven Sports
- NBA Network
For an extra $5 a month, you can access extra lifestyle and sports channels. Usually, these channels are only in the higher tier cable lineups. For instance, you can watch the DIY Network or the Stadium Network.
With global sports, you can add extra packages starting at $5.99 per month. Once again, you can add or remove these packages as sports seasons change.
And, you can stream to three devices at once. So, if you set up multiple screens on gameday, Fubo is for you!
Finally, Fubo has an ample DVR storage package. You get 30 hours of free cloud storage. And most games have a 3-day replay option. With other cable TV apps, you must watch the game live. Or, you have to catch the highlights on SportsCenter.
PlayStation Vue ($44.99 per month)
When you need more options than Sling or Hulu, look at PlayStation Vue.
Despite its name, PlayStation Vue streams on any internet device. You can download the app to your Smart TV, too.
Since their plans start at $44.99 per month, compare prices to your current TV plan. The savings might not be as much as you expect.
But, you can still save money if you subscribe to premium movie channels. For $79.99 a month, you get you HBO and Showtime, plus your local stations and many cable channels. College and pro sports fans will also like the sports channel lineup.
Maybe, you want to cancel your cable TV to be more productive. You might try listening to audiobooks instead while you work around the house or garden. One popular option is Audible.
While you have to pay for Audible, there are plenty of other free audiobook websites and apps.
Why listen to audiobooks instead of watch TV?
For starters, audiobooks are less distracting than TV. You can even listen to your favorite book while you work a side hustle!
Second, audiobooks usually cost less than cable TV apps. So, you can cancel your TV subscription. Then, you can listen to books for free. When you need a break, you can also find plenty of free online videos, too.
Finally, audiobooks can help you learn. Books often provide more details about subjects you’re interested in than TV shows can.
Can You Avoid TV Cancellation Fees?
Avoiding TV cancellation fees isn’t always easy. But, it’s not impossible. Apps like Trim help you negotiate the best rate. And, streaming apps let you watch live TV without contracts. So, you never have to pay a fee to change plans again!
Do you have a friend paying too much for cable? If so, share these tips with them!