Okay, so I was not brought up to haggle over prices. I hate the thought of doing it. I am not sure of all the reasons that stop me but I really find it a hard thing to do.
But I have had to do it lately. We have had some changes that have led to economic cut backs. The world is not coming to an end or anything, we just have to look at our lifestyle and see what is important and what isn’t. It is the sort of reflection that should be undertaken occasionally but I am not sure that anyone wants to do that.
We started with the big things. I found that cable was a expense that I didn’t personally think was worth it. So we investigated and have cancelled cable TV. It is an adjustment. It will get easier; we are adjusting to watching via the internet and a sometimes shaky antenna. While we didn’t watch much TV before, we do watch even less now. That is not a bad thing.
The next call was to AT&T for our telephone service. We still have a land line and for some personal reasons, we cannot at this time cancel that service. We will cancel it as soon as we can. I called AT&T and told them that I was about to cancel my service to go to a different provider. I asked if they would like to do something to reduce my bill to prevent me from cancelling. Amazingly, within just a minute or so, I was informed that they would cut my bill about 25%. It seems that I am on an old plan that has been replaced by a less expensive plan. Not only would they save me money but they gave me more services. I also cancelled another part of my service and in the end my bill was dropped 50%! All this from a 5 minute phone call. I have since learned that they did not tell me that there is another way to save on the bill. I will be calling them back.
I run my business from my home. Because of this, I have an alarm system on my home. The rate for the alarm system had steadily been growing over the years. I made a call to the alarm company and gave my same line – I was going to call their competition, was there anything that they wanted to do to keep me as a customer. Within seconds they dropped my bill 30% and told me what to do in the future to delay or reduce increases.
Now with both of these companies, I had been a long term customer and had not called to complain about my bill before. I really think that there is a lesson to be learned here. I have run into this in business and it seems to apply to home also. Often times you will receive “routine” increases that will just mount up over the years. Anytime you see that happening, call and complain. I am willing to bet that if you do, you will see a rate reduction. If not, then try again the next year.
My neighbor taught me to call the cable company whenever they have a promotional rate out for new customers. She calls and tells them that she is a longtime customer and she feels that she should get the rate. Most of the time, it works.
I noticed that my bank was offering a promotional rate for new home equity lines of credit. I called and pointed out that I was a longtime customer and I asked for that rate. I got the rate!
I had a bid for some work to be done on my home. I called and asked if I had the work done “pre-season” when they weren’t as busy if I could get a better price. They called me back and lowered the price. I will tell you that this was the hardest of the calls to make. When calling the big companies, you are not talking to anyone who really cares as much about a customer here or there. When calling a local company, where you know the people and have worked with them, it is much harder. But sometimes, it might be worthwhile to just ask.
I know that for some of you, this might just be a part of nature but for those like me, it is really hard. I think if I had run into a roadblock on my first call, I would not have been pushed to make the other calls. But with success, I have pushed myself to try it more. So far, I have been able to save almost $200 a month. It is certainly with a few phone calls to save that much money each month.
Thanks for reading!
Carol Early Cooney
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