This summer, we experienced a false alarm with regards to the flooded Missouri River.  We packed up all our valuables and lived in our home without access to our washer, dryer, bedroom furniture, or anything that wasn’t strictly for survival.  In the process of trying to be ready for an evacuation at a moment’s notice, we also started calling around to our utility companies to find out what our options were for having things shut off.  What we learned surprised us.

Most Entertainment Services Have a “Vacation” Option

For larger bills that provided nothing more than entertainment (cable and instant viewing services, for example), we were given the choice of having it put on a temporary “hold.”  Our cable, specifically, allowed us to have our service shut off with no penalties for a maximum of 6 months.  We didn’t have to pay any maintenance fees during this time, but it did extend our 2-year contract by that additional 6 months.  With all the work we were doing to prepare to leave, however, we had no time to watch TV, and the additional $80 – 120 a month for cable, Hulu, and Netflix came in handy.

I found out that many customers take breaks during the year when they spend time away on vacation or when work is extra-hectic, and that this can be an efficient way to pocket some cash without damaging your existing service contract.

The “Welcome Back” Can be Profitable

When it came time to have everything turned back on, the process was seamless.  In the case of our cable, I had specified a “turn on” date at the time that I put it on hold, so there was no action required on my part to get service back when we were ready.  The other entertainment services were being held on a month-by-month basis.  I just clicked a few buttons on their site to get instant access to my accounts.

A pleasant surprise of this process is that, apparently, absence does make the heart grow fonder.  At least two of my services gave me a “we missed you” upgrade to my account, with either premium channels for a few months or an extension of a promotional rate.  I guess playing hard to get can work out very well in the cable subscription business!

What about you?  Do you take off to a summer home for a month or two out of the year?  Are you leaving money on the table by not having your entertainment services put on hold?  Just think of what you could do with an extra $100 or more!!