How Frequently Can You Nag Your Communications Bills Down?

PhoneDeals.jpg In response to our recent writeup of how communications costs continue to rise, one reader advocated a highly aggressive approach to bargain-hunting:

Call your provider (calling is necessary in this case). Tell them that you aren't happy with the cost of your service and ask what they can offer you. Do this once a month. It's surprising how well this works.

Now, I'm all for trying to score a bargain, but it seems to me that once a month would be somewhat excessive and counter-productive. Not only will you waste hours on the phone, but eventually your provider is likely to point out that your deal has already changed repeatedly. It's a truism that it's much cheaper to retain an existing customer than to acquire a new one, but not if the new customer is on the phone seeking better deals all the time. And if you end up on a 12-month contract, why will they care until month 11? So monthly is probably overkill, but the exact limit is probably up for debate. How often can you squeeze a better deal out of your phone company or ISP?


Comments

    I'd agree that every month seems excessive. It's hard to believe that you'd be able to bargain them down significantly versus just not using the phone as much. I do think it is worth doing if, for example, you've seen a better deal and can cite that offer as in "Blah Co are offering Blah deal and I'm calling you before I think about switching to see if you have anything like that you could offer?".
    Mentioning the prices of a direct competitor is a pretty standard approach when haggling anyway.

    yup, i work in retention in another industry, but same deal, either mention a competitors deal, with details if possible, for telco, your per minute rates, international calls rates, how many minutes you get for $x/month etc, and you'll almost certainly get the better deal, if you've shopped around and can quote the good bits of a couple of different offers, you can wrangle the best possible deal.

    If you've got a high bill, just telling the right person you're just thinking of shopping around will get you a better deal.

    calling monthly because some one is offering half a cent cheaper rtaes now than last month is just gonna get reps not care, let you go over to the other company, and 'forget' to point out the termination fee on the (legally binding) contract you entered into.

    (some of you may have had one of these chats with me at my work)....

    That's great advice, but WHO do you go to at the telecoms company? Is it just a question of using the standard sales phone line or do you ask for a specific job title?

    That 'reader' was me. Monthly may seem excessive, but much of the time you will end up speaking to someone who either can't change your deal/plan/charges, can't be bothered to help (lets face it you're dealing with a call centre person who isn't really totally into their job right?), or simply isn't the right person to talk to. As you mentioned, the frequency of calling can be debated, but the point is you will benefit from trying at least few times.

    In regards to changing a contract - yes of course calling a month later won't change anything... that's the whole point of a contract!

    Much of your success depends on how you word things, your manner on the phone, how you relate to the person you are chatting to, and focussing on what sounds expensive, whilst glossing over that which is not so as to help make your situation sound uncompetitive. None of this is new obviously...

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