Don't be afraid to challenge a rate increase. By Cameron Huddleston, Former Online Editor January 5, 2010 The company that provides my cable, Internet and phone service hit me with a nice little New Year's surprise: It jacked up my rates.My balance due this month jumped by $10 over the December bill. So I called to find out why my rates had increased. The customer service representative said something about system upgrades and the increased cost of cable channel offerings. I said, "But my cable bill hasn't risen -- just the amounts for phone and Internet service." A lengthy pause, then ... "let's see what we can do to lower your rates." The customer service rep told me that she could "rebundle" my services to knock $5 off the phone service charge. "Go for it," I said. So I didn't eliminate the $10 monthly increase, but I did save $60 this year by making one phone call. Share your stories of successful efforts to get your rates lowered in the reader comments box below.