Sometimes all it takes is a simple phone call to reduce your monthly bill – and save serious money.
Did you know that companies spend 5 (or more) times more money to get a new customer than to keep an existing one? This simple fact means that expressing interest to cancel a subscription service, like your phone service or TV subscription, can yield savings that you should take advantage of.
Companies routinely work to retain customers who show an intent to cancel or reduce service by lowering their service costs. As a customer, there really isn't anything to lose when threatening to cancel your subscriptions – the best case scenario is you lower your bills and the worst case is you're told there's nothing that can be done.
Below are some of the most prevalent companies that will potentially lower your current rates in order to keep you with them and prevent losing you to their competitors.
Speak to Customer Retention
You need to get in touch with the right department, usually customer retention or cancellation, and simply tell them that you either can’t afford to pay your bill anymore or that you’ve got a better offer from another competitor. Which tactic works better depends on a number of factors, so it's important to understand all the elements in order to properly execute this strategy and get your bills lowered each month.
Cable and Internet Services
Especially as streaming services have taken off, cable TV and internet services are usually willing to bend over backwards to keep you as a customer. This makes it easy to lower your current internet, Wifi, and cable TV bills you pay each month, though it is easier to do if you live in an area where there are multiple providers available.
Even if you don't necessarily watch much cable TV, broadband Internet access is critical, and the reality is that they typically go hand in hand because of how providers like to package them together for discounts.
There may even be packages that cut out TV and phone entirely. Calling up bigger companies like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and even Cox and seeing if they can cut down the cost of your monthly bill is an option, but threatening to leave for a competitor may be the way to get your monthly costs down.
Some cable and internet providers may have you locked into a contract, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Sometimes they can even retroactively apply discounts to your current contract. As you will see with most of these scenarios, it never hurts to simply ask for a lower payment each month.
Cell Phone Service
Cell Phone bills can reach up to $200 each month for cell phone plans, and with the amount of competition currently available for cell phone providers, you should not be paying this much. Even if you are locked into a contract with your cell phone company, negotiating can lead to a lower monthly bill.
When you are reaching out to competitors, they may also offer a service that will pay you to break your current contract to switch over to their plans. Just like with your cable and Internet bills, companies know how important it is to have a good cell phone provider, and there is big potential in competition to switch over and save money.
The recent surge in popularity of lower-cost cell phone companies makes this tactic even more useful. Why should you pay a $200 monthly bill when a prepaid provider will give you unlimited talk, text, and data for just $60 per month? The bigger industry players are being forced to compete, and will do what they can in order to keep you subscribed to their service.
If you are banking with a large bank, then you might think you're more likely to get the best deal, but that isn't always the case. There are many online, local or smaller banks that may eliminate extra fees, so switching may be something worth looking into. ATM fees alone have skyrocketed to almost $5 per transaction, and many online banks with no ATMs of their own will reimburse these fees. If you don't want to shop around for a better banking alternative, you should at least attempt to call and negotiate a better deal for your banking and credit card fees.
For banks that have a local branch in your area, it may be best to go into the bank in person and speak with a personal banker. Ask them if they are able to reimburse any ATM fees that you may have accrued for the month, and to waive any monthly fees that may come with your deposit accounts.
Credit Card Fees and Interest
Credit card companies rely on the fact that the average person doesn't exactly know how their fees and interest works. Many people don't typically fully understand how credit card interest works – namely, that they will also have to pay interest on each of your purchases made with your credit card if you carry a balance, and that the interest compounds daily.
These two factors alone allow for credit card companies to make a lot of money. It’s important that you know it's possible to reduce your interest rate on your credit cards through negotiation. If you are in a position where your finances are being drained by credit card companies, it may be worth calling to see how they can help you lower your monthly payments.
If you’re a good customer then oftentimes these companies will lower your rate or waive any recent fees. If you’re in a tough spot and they aren’t budging, consider looking for a good Zero-Balance Transfer offer to save money.
If you own or lease a car, you will know how frustrating it can be to find affordable car insurance with adequate coverage. There are many variables that come into play when accounting how much you pay each month – the type of car you have, where you live, and your past driving history will all play a role in your monthly bill, but that does not mean there is no room for you to negotiate.
Speak with your insurance agent or company to find out if they can lower your monthly costs or help find you some discounts you are eligible for. Insurance companies usually offer some opportunities to pay less through discounts, but make them difficult to find – it may be a safe driver discount, or for students, a good grades discount. Senior citizens, veterans and enlisted members, teachers, and healthcare staff are also able to enjoy discounts regularly.
Before signing your lease, do your best to negotiate your monthly payments to see if you can get a lower amount, especially if you're a good tenant with an excellent payment history. When you are looking for a new place to live or your lease is about to be up and needs to be renewed, this is when you should kick it into overdrive with negotiation. Most landlords will try to increase the rent with a renewal, but they face the risk of a vacant apartment that earns them no rental income if they cannot find another tenant willing to sign a lease that begins once your lease ends.
Medical debt is a growing problem for many people, and the rising health care costs aren’t helping it go away any time soon. If you are faced with a high medical bill you can't afford, take the time to sit down with your hospital or doctor’s billing department and see if there is any room for negotiation. Hospitals know that you probably won't have thousands of dollars to just hand over, so simply just outright ask for a discount.
Additionally, with over 71,000 different american diagnosis billing codes currently in use, there's a good chance your bill may have errors in it. By asking for a detailed itemized list of the care you received, you could spot a mistake that, once corrected, will instantly lower the bill.
Discrepancies can range from being charged twice for a cheap medication, to something more drastic, like being charged for a procedure you did not receive. Pay attention to what they are doing and charging you for, and make sure they line up exactly with the care that you actually received.
Signing up for gym memberships in the beginning makes you feel that there is unlimited potential to better your physical and mental health. However, considering that 2/3rds of people who sign up for gym memberships never actually end up going, it may be an area you can cancel to save money.
If you don't use your gym membership, the easy solution to saving some extra money is to simply cancel your membership outright. On the other hand if you do utilize your membership and see it as a good investment in our future, sit down with an employee from your gym to see if you can lower your monthly bill. Threatening to go to a competitor may further help drive home the point to them.
Newspaper and Magazine Subscriptions
While a lot of people have abandoned receiving physical newspapers and magazines that come to your doorstep or in the mail, there are still quite a few people that prefer having something they can hold in their hands to read. Many newspapers or magazines that rely on revenue from print subscriptions are desperate for subscribers.
Take a look at the total amount you spend each year on these services and get in touch with a company’s customer service department. In most cases, if you threaten to cancel they will do whatever they can to keep your service which may result in reduced monthly payments and potentially a few months worth of free services.
Threatening To Cancel Subscriptions For Lower Bills: How to make this strategy work
Here are some strategies to keep in mind when setting out to lower your bills.
Be Familiar with the Competition
In all reality, it only takes one competitor rate to get this strategy to work. Speak with your current bill provider and explain that you are considering dropping their services to go to a cheaper competitor to save money.
Talk to a human
Email and chat messages are far less likely to succeed in achieving reduced monthly payments. Talk to a human, whether face-to-face or over the phone, and make sure you tell them that you have received a better offer and will be leaving if they don't lower your monthly payments. Even if it’s just a bluff, the outcomes may surprise you.
Try using GetHuman to connect you with real customer representatives of certain companies. This ensures you speak with a human instead of a computer generated recording.
Be Polite, But Firm
Customer service representatives have a little bit of leeway in lessening your monthly payments, so it’s important to be respectful when speaking with them. They are more likely to help you if you are polite, but also firm on what you are requesting. If you are angry or belligerent, they are most likely not going to help you.
Speak to the Cancellation Department
If you are not having success with customer service representatives, try asking to be transferred to the customer retention department. They have the authority to offer you a better deal than most other people in the company. Retention department employees will try anything they can to keep you as a customer because it’s literally their job to keep customers hooked on their service.
Consumer debt in America is at an all-time high. For those that have these recurring monthly subscriptions and obligations, it can be hard to actually chip away at your debt. Even if you aren’t in debt, these monthly bills still add up. It never hurts to call and ask. The worst thing that they will do is simply say “no.”