(WXYZ) - If time is money, then taking the time to call companies to see if you can get a lower rate or save some dough may be well worth it. Rule number one: most businesses won't call to tell you how
to save--so it's up to you to dial up savings.
Once a year Chantay Bridges dials her way to saving big bucks! And sometimes even more often than that!
"We've saved tons and tons," Chantay says.
Chantay cut what she pays for her phone, cable, utility and insurance bills--and saved on credit card and bank fees and interest just by calling the companies. She's got it down to a science !
"I reminded them of our credit scores. I reminded them of our loyalty."
Experts say Chantay's calling strategies are on the money! And you can actually try dialing for more savings even more often.
Finance guru Mitchell Weiss says it certainly can't hurt to "check in" every quarter to every six months with businesses who bill you. And if you see a company advertise a special deal--take that as
an opportunity to call and say you're interested.
Weiss explains businesses want customers to stick around because it costs more to lose a customer than to offer them some new ways to save.
"It costs money to get them. It costs money to keep them. Why would you want to
turn that over to a competitor," University of Hartford’s Mitchell Weiss says.
So how can you make sure dialing through the phone maze of customer service reps is worth it?
People pay personal finance administrator Roblee Hoffman to lower their bills and now he's sharing his secrets with us. Hoffman can usually save people between two hundred and twelve hundred dollars a year and here's how you can do the same:
"Be a great customer. A great customer is one who has been with a company for a
fair number of years and pays their bill on or before the due date and pays the full balance," Hoffman says.
Then once you've established your history with the company ask for lower rates, a cheaper plan and monthly fees to be removed. If you can't neogtiate with a customer service rep, ask for the
customer retention department or the president's office. They may offer more incentives
"The only time you want to be confrontational or say to a company that youre
going to go to another service is when you've prepared it ahead of time and done
your research to know there's other services available at a greater cost savings," Hoffman says.
Chantay says knowing what a company's competition is offering is key to negotiating.
And if you've never called a business for a better rate, start dialing--it could save you a lot of cash!
“It’s worth the time and it's worth your money," Chantay says.
Consumer Reports also did a recent survey on saving on monthly bills. Their report is below.
You might hate the bills, but many of us can’t live without our TV, Internet connection, and home phone. Could you be paying less for these services? After surveying its readers and talking to industry experts, Consumer Reports says the answer just might be yes.
If you’re not bundling your TV, Internet, and phone service and getting all three as a discount package, you could be missing out on big savings.
And the Consumer Reports National Research Center found that there are other ways to cut your telecom bill. A survey of 69,000 readers reveals that bargaining can really pay off.
Of readers who bundle their services, seven out of 10 polled didn’t bargain before signing up. But of those who did, more than 90 percent got some sort of deal.
Of those who negotiated for telecom services, 40 percent got their bill reduced as much as $50 a month. Others got fees waived for activation and installation or were offered free premium services for a period. But remember to cancel those services before companies start charging you.
Some companies are now tracking what discounts you have already received, so you may have to press harder. If asking for a lower rate doesn’t work, let them know you’re thinking of cutting some services or switching providers.
Consumer Reports says that providers may be more willing to deal once it’s clear that you’re serious about dropping them. A Consumer Reports staffer called and asked how to disconnect her service. She got $30 knocked off her monthly bill and an upgrade as well.
You might think that dropping a service like a home phone line will cut your bill significantly, but Consumer Reports says that’s not necessarily the case. Before you drop a bundled service, check with your provider to see what your new rate will be because the savings you expect often evaporate.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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