Why do some companies feel the need to play this game with customers on a recurring basis? Haven't we earned being spared this with our loyalty (and hard-earned dollars)?

As a Minnesotan or Wisconsinite that's ever had  a service like cable TV or satellite radio, you've probably run into this. Heck, even some car insurance companies now even seem to want to play this game with you.

The premise is at the end of a term (usually after a year or two), the price of your service will skyrocket at the end of a "promotional price" period you may have been given to get you to start the service in the first place. If you do nothing, your price will go up some ridiculous amount to their "market rate".

If you contact them and jump through some hoops, the company will often relent and either restore your previous service cost, or maybe give you a new "promotional price" that will be good for another year or two - before you'll need to play this game again.

This annual ritual is one I've participated in with one company or other for the last several years. I make a point to set calendar reminders with some notes so I can avoid seeing a bill that is wildly different than what I'm used to paying.

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While it is a little different, I had a friend of mine tell me a story about how they recently had to play a similar game with a car insuarance company. His insurance - on an aging vehicle with a clean driving record and no accidents - had been going up every billing period.

He had called them the first few times and they found a way to reconfigure things to give him a similar price. The most recent time, the agent told my friend they would have to completely re-run all of his policy information as though he was a new customer in order to try to get him a better rate. It turns out they were successful in doing this.

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That story, along with my annual battles with cable companies and such make me wonder - why frustrate your customers and make them play games? You're clearly willing and able to provide a lower rate. Calling and jumping through some hoops usually leads to a price correction, some new offer, or other means to keep the price down for your customer.

Why not reward their loyalty and desire to stay with your service? I understand the cost of things goes up and you'll need to make adjustments pereodically. But to make people have to threaten to cancel or change their service just to reward them with a better rate is just obnoxious.

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