Sunday, February 26, 2006


I asked readers if companies are being unfair to existing customers when they offer discounts and special deals that are limited to prospective new customers.

If they think it's unfair, I added, would it be wrong for long-term customers to cancel their service -- if they can do so without incurring penalties -- and then re-up to take advantage of offers made to newcomers?

"I understand why companies market to the new consumer," writes Carol Bobke of Mission Viejo, Calif., "but I still don't think it's fair. Why should new customers get great deals and giveaways when there is no reward for loyalty?"

Bobke also doesn't see anything wrong with an existing customer canceling a service only to sign up again to receive the perks.

"It's business," she writes.

Mark Jones of Huntington Beach, Calif., has contacted companies with which he's done business in the past to see if they'd offer him the same discounts they were offering new customers. Some readily agreed to, he writes, while others were "steadfastly against" it.

"Since it is a free economy," Jones writes, "you can guess how I exercised my freedom of choices."

Post your own opinion by clicking on "comments" below.


Anonymous said...

A smart business will require service to be inactive for a minimum time period. Businesses figure a small percentage of price sensitive customers will cancel a service, then restart to gain a discount. Most customers don't bother. The lapse in service and time required to change is rarely worth the effort. Executives are looking at the overall $ results and aren't bothered about customers who'll readily switch to save a few dollars.

yawningdog said...

My husband and I were just talking about this. It seems that the cable companies actually want us to cut and rehook-up with their promotions. After a year my cable bill lost it's discount on local channels and on my internet I now get charged for my modem that was free for the first year. If I cut and re-hook with these same companies, I would come out ahead. Discover gives my money back, and has my loyalty, but why not offer a regular customer a 0% deal. Why doesn't the cable company offer a free movie, a free month, or a free upgrade after so many months,
and to my internet company - no one want to change their email addresses, but if the price keeps going up it will be worth the hassle.

Just because I am loyal doesn't mean that I want to be stepped on.

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