I wanted to say “Thanks!” to Canadian Capitalist for the tip about asking for discounts. I got our Sympatico (high speed DSL internet) bill lowered to $29.99/month + tax, that’s down from $49.93! I didn’t even have to blackmail them. I didn’t dispute the 12-month contract but we don’t mind it for now. It will automatically expire in a year, and if I want to renew and go back to the lower rate, I’ll have to call in again.
If you ask them to match someone’s price, they’ll ask for the company name. But you can just call in and say – provided you’re OK with it – “I want to sign up for a 12-month contract if you lower my fee to $XX”. Their standard lowest contract is at $34.99 at the moment, but you can negotiate further. Be prepared for lots of uncomfortable silence while the operator types a lot. The entire call took 15 minutes with very limited dialog.