Flex-price markets in everything, cable TV edition

 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 Gilt Groupe.

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.

There is more here, via the excellent Daniel Lippman.


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