How to change providers

Howto change providersIn my Monthly Savings Recap for February I said I’d summarize the tips from there in a more clear and concise way. In short, here are the tips and ways of thinking that led me to save during that month (and in my day-to-day life). Today we are dealing with “shop around and change providers”. This is what I’ve done with my home insurance, and only by following these simple rules I got a $50 discount.

Shop around and change providers

You know you don’t want to pay full price. You don’t need to! So why would you just accept the first price somebody put in front of you for anything? You don’t! You shop around, you take some time to look at the alternatives you have and to think about the pros and cons.

When getting any sort of services (be it cable TV, insurance, internet, whatever) you do your research, you ask friends and family, you compare prices and benefits. Why don’t you do the same when they are renewing their services? I know, it’s so much easier to just accept the renewal and move on, right? I agree, but then you could be losing some serious money in the future.

It’s normal that a company will offer you a lower price in the first three months, or even in the first year. After that, after you are hooked, the prices go up and up. They know most people will not even notice that. They know that the very few that will notice it will not complain or take action, and then they are rich and you are poor.

Companies demand loyalty, but you have no obligation of being loyal to them. They will not have hard feelings about you if you leave. They will even try harder if you say you are leaving them for the competition.

So, I dare you to schedule half an hour of your week and research some options for one of your services. You pick one: internet, cell phone, insurance, you name it. Take a look on what the competition offers, compare with your actual service and ask yourself: Is this the best service I can get for my money?

No matter what the answer is, you will call them and try to lower their monthly fee. But wait, there are some techniques to do this!

Tips for when calling your provider

  • Be polite. Always. Always. No matter what.
  • Have the competition offers at hand and understand why they are better (or not) for you.
  • Call your provider’s customer service and explain the representative that you think your bill is too high (and if you are considering cancelling the service, tell him you are considering switching providers). Do not bluff! You don’t need to.
  • Be prepared for a torrent of explanations on why your provider is better or whatsoever. You should think about these arguments beforehand so you can refute them mentally and not get hooked again.
  • If the representative is not patient enough and he says “ok, let’s cancel” without a better offer, ask him the magic question: “Is this the best you can do for me now?” This question is pure gold! They always have a better offer for you!
  • Ask him “I have an offer of $X from Competitor, can’t you beat them? I really like your service, especially the customer service, but my bills are really too high for me right now“.
  • If you cannot get a discount of a reduction in your fees, move on. Cancel the service and call another provider.
  • They can deal with a customer leaving, don’t worry about hurting their feelings. They are paid for that.
  • EXTRA TIP: You don’t need to give a 30-day notice before cancelling your phone, wireless, internet or television services.

Of course you must be aware of any fees involved with cancelling your actual services. It makes no sense to cancel a service to save $50 in one year if you have to pay a $300 fee for quitting before the contract ends, right? Do your math!

I dare you to choose one service provider and try to lower their costs. You will be surprised with what you can get if you ask nicely!

* Photo by Flickr user Dennis Jarvis

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  1. I recently did this with my TV provider. I had to sign a 3 year contract (that’s almost up) and they keep increasing the bill. I currently have to rent a box for $10/month, a new one is $100 or free for new customers. I told them I don’t want to pay the $10 monthly fee but I don’t think its right that new customers get the box for free, but I have to pay $100 for it. I also was fed up paying $80/month for my TV plan; I barely watch TV, but have tenants, so offer it as a little bonus for them. I reminded them about my contract, they reminded me of the cancellation fee. I told them I didn’t really want to leave cause I love plan and their service, but felt I was paying far too much, and at least wanted to get a much more basic plan.
    Long story short (about an hour dealing with them), I got my $80 monthly service fee cut in half WITHOUT loosing a single channel (saving $40/month), got a new TV box for $15 (saving $100 up front – I only paid the shipping charge, which apparently new customer still have to pay for), and now no longer have to pay the $10/month rental fee. Furthermore, the “customer rentention department” (that’s who I strongly reccommend you talk to when negotiating with a company – they can do so much more than customer service) gave me 3 months free service to some premium movie channels.
    I told them in 11 months time when my contract is up, I’m going to have no problem whatsoever continuing my services with them. Not bad for an hour of work, I thought.

    Just gutta find the time to do this with all my other bills now.

    Btw, looking forward to some of your posts currently in the works, Dan! (Hint, super guide on cash back apps! Been using things like that for months already! Hit me up if you want any input!)

    • Hi, Eric! Thanks so much for sharing your story! Wow, 50% reduction? Looks like you totally nailed it! So, in short, you saved something around $600 per year? When I tell people about this kind of thing they are always skeptical.
      The cash back app post is almost done, stay tuned :)
      Thanks for dropping by, man!

  2. Should be worth mentioning that the $40/month is what it was 2 years ago when I signed up, and it just keeps going up and up.

    Yes, I know lots of people think the price is the price and they can’t do anything about it. The biggest thing I tell my friends/family is that you’re not getting any sort of deal unless you ask for it. Your TV provider/insurance company/etc will never call you and say “hey, we like you, have $5 off your bill every month.” You have got to ask them and follow through with any threats you give (although you shouldn’t ever threaten them). And like you said in the post – always be sincere to them. That’s why my fiancé doesn’t make these calls – when I do I have patience and don’t just start yelling or giving attitude to the rep on the other side of the phone.

    Always ask for a better deal, people! I manage a hotel charging over $150/night and I allow all the desk agents to go all the way down to $100 without needing to talk to me first. Making any sort of sale is usually better than making no sale at all. (Obviously within means – don’t think you’re getting stuff for free!)

    • Exactly, Eric! I’ve worked as a call center rep many years ago, and they are people like everyone else: they LIKE IT when you are respectful and nice. If they can give you a discount but you are a bitch with them, they will just let you go without moving a finger. It’s human nature!
      And I’ll remember your comment next time I stay at a hotel :)


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