How to Negotiate Monthly Bills
If you’re attempting to cut down on your spending, chances are the first place you’ll go is by limiting your non-essential spending. Less takeout, more home-cooked meals. Fewer Starbucks, more brewed coffee. But if you find that you’re still having trouble making ends meet or just want to find ways to save more money, negotiating is critical.
One way to help lower your monthly bills without changing too much of your life otherwise is to negotiate with your providers. If you didn’t know, you can (and should) negotiate nearly every single bill you pay. From credit card bills to cable bills, they’re all negotiable.
What steps can you take to negotiate lower monthly bills?
#1. Research what other people pay
Before you call a provider, it’s best to do your research and determine averages from other companies and people. You can ask your friends, family and even your social media followers to see what other people pay for similar bills.
For example, for a cell phone bill, how much do they pay and how much data do they get? Once you have this information, you can compare it with your own contract and see whether you think you have an argument for the wiggle room. Even if your bill is the lowest of them all, there may still be some way to negotiate a discount, even if it’s temporary.
I’ve been able to lower my cable bill by $5/month and get free Netflix for a year just by asking. It’s not a lot, but it’s $60 a year, and that’s enough to buy two stocks in Air Canada or Manulife, so, not entirely bad.
#2. Before you call, remember to be nice to the customer service agents
While speaking with people who work in customer service, it is super important to use your manners. Being polite will always go further than anger and petty remarks. This is important to remember because most of the time, the person you will be speaking with usually does not make the rules. They cannot always make decisions regarding lowering a bill, and most importantly, they also pay bills and works hard for their money.
It’s possible to get what you want just by using your manners. As I often tell my two-year-old, we’re more likely to say yes if you say please and thank you.
#3. Be persistent
Typically, the first time you ask for a lower monthly bill or hint that you’re looking for a financial break, the person on the other line may insist that there is nothing they can do. If this is the case, ask to speak with someone who can help you.
If they say there is no one else, call back again. Each time you call, you will likely receive a different agent. Each person you speak to will probably give you a different answer. If you’re able to save yourself $50 plus dollars a year (or a month) by spending a couple of hours making phone calls, it’s likely still worth it.
#4. Say you are cancelling your service
If all else fails, it might be best to imply you are thinking about cancelling your service. Most of the time, indicating you want to cancel will mean you are transferred to a different department, likely a loyalty or retention employee, whose goal is to convince you to stay. This means the ball is now in your court.
These departments typically have the most negotiation ability and are the best people to speak to if you’d like to see a change in your service. Just be sure that you completely understand what changes you can expect before you agree to anything and that these cost changes are permanent.
How do you start the conversation?
I’m sure you’re now thinking to yourself, that’s all great, Alyssa, but I hate talking on the phone, so how the hell am I supposed to navigate this conversation with confidence? Great question. One thing to keep in mind is that we don’t want to say outright that we wish to have a lower bill. Everyone wants a lower bill. If the solution were that simple, we would all negotiate regularly.
Therefore, we need to tell them about the problem without telling them about the problem. For example, I’ve started to notice that my bill is a lot more expensive than I can manage, and I’m wondering what offers you currently have that could help me lower my bill?
Acknowledge a deal you know they’re currently offering. Saying something like, I saw that you’re now offering a cable and cell phone combo deal, and I’d also love to take advantage of this deal.
Lastly, be sure to show them your loyalty. Tell the agent how long you’ve been a customer, encourage them to keep you by showing why it’s worthwhile to stay. Say something like, I’ve been a loyal paying customer for over eight years now, and I would love for you to convince me to stay with your company.
You may not always hear what you want
Now that you’ve done everything you can to negotiate a more appropriate monthly payment, it can feel defeating to hear that you already have the best price available.
If you feel like you're overpaying for your service after doing all of your research and spending the time chatting with customer service agents, cancelling might be the right decision for you after all. Do the math to see what your cancellation fee is and whether or not you’ll end up saving that money long term by switching to a new provider.
Either way, just like we negotiate our salary, it never hurts to ask. The worst that can happen is they say no — and there are much worse things to hear than a two-letter word.
Source: Mixed Up Money
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