Maybe you’ve only thought of haggling when hunting for bargains at swap meets. Or you’ve dickered with a merchant to bring down the price on a souvenir in a foreign bazaar. In either case, you may have saved a significant amount for your efforts. You can employ the same tactic to attempt to bring down the fees on monthly bills such as cable or Internet access. (Don’t try it on utilities, such as electricity or water, because their fees are often fixed by government regulators.) Follow these tips for the best results.
Start by gathering any offers for the same service at a cheaper price. In the case of cable, for example, keep any brochures that competing companies may send you. You’ll need these to justify your costs.
Phone your service provider in person near the end of the month. This is the best time to try this tactic because many agents may be trying to fulfill monthly quotas of one kind or another. Ask for the customer retention department. Their primary job is to keep existing customers. If the company has none, talk to a sales agent instead, who has incentive to sell products. Don’t bother with customer service – their main goal is to solve your problem as quickly as possible, even if that means getting you off the service.
Explain to the agent how much you enjoy the service but are finding it difficult to keep up with the payments. Explain to them that you want to stay with the company but have received competing officers. Describe the incentives and prices from the brochures you’ve collected. Then ask the agent if there’s anything they can do to match the competition. Otherwise, you’ll be forced to change service providers.
More often than not, the agent will match the price you quoted or, at the very least, offer to hold you fees at the current level if you remain a customer with the company. If you’re still not satisfied with the concession, try talking to a manager. However, bear in mind, customer retention agents generally have a lot of leeway in trying to keep you as a customer. If they can’t lower fees any further, it’s most likely the manager can’t either.
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