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You Can Make Money By Negotiating Your Bills

Jun 8, 2008
Have you ever tried to negotiate one of your bills? Heating bills, garbage bills, cell phone bills, and cable TV bills: you might think that a bill is a bill and you owe the full amount but sometimes you can talk your way into a discount.

I have the $70.00 a month for 1000 minutes plan with one of the major cell phone companies. I have never gone over in minutes in several years so it was a total shock when my bill one month was $235.00! Apparently I had gone over my allotted minutes by almost 500 and that resulted in the $165.00 being added to the bill.

Well, I was upset that I went over that much and also that the phone company would stick me for so much. I mean, I know we signed a contract and all but thats a pretty hefty phone bill when you know the minutes don't mean a thing to them.

In the past I had briefly talked about switching companies and I thought this was a perfect time to call my cell phone company up to see just how loyal they were.

I got on the line with the customer service guy and explained the situation: this was a one time deal, we had never gone over before, and so on. I asked if there was anything he could do for me. He put me on hold and came back saying that they could knock $30.00 off the bill. I told him that $30.00 was OK but I was hoping for more and I reminded him that we had been with them for a long time. He put me on hold again to go talk to his manager and this time he came back and said they could take 50% off the extra $165.00 which amounted to $82.50.

For some reason I didn't want to take that offer either. I don't know why but maybe because I smelled weakness. I knew the next level up plan was $100.00 for 2000 minutes and if I had had that plan I would have not gone over. I then said that I was hoping to have them "pretend" I had that higher plan just for that month and that they would take off $135.00.

The guy on the phone would have none of that and said his hands were tied and the 50% off the charges was the best they could do: final offer. I then told/asked him politely that there were many cell phone companies and I thought they would want my business. He countered with "we do want your business but you signed a contract so I don't even understand why you are trying to get a discount". I told him I did sign a contract and I would pay the charges but I was also seriously considering changing companies afterwards.

"Let me transfer you to my manager" he immediately said. The manager then came on and was all nice and asked me exactly what I wanted. I told him that I wanted to pay $100.00 out of the $235.00 thus essentially "moving up" to the higher plan for just that one month. I told him that I wanted to stay with his company and that if he did that for me I would not change.

He didn't agree to it right away but in the end he could see that I was determined and meant it. He did give in and I ended up paying only $100.00 out of the $235.00! The normal person probably would have gladly taken the $82.50 that the customer service guy offered but I was, as the manager said, determined. Not a bad payoff I must say for about 15 minutes of work!
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