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  • Dave Kinzer

Negotiate to Save Money

Updated: Aug 9, 2020

If you'd rather listen to this blog post instead of read it, check out my podcast, "Money on the Brain". I discuss negotiating in the 7th episode. Click HERE to listen to it.

My wife and I recently had sticker shock when we realized how much we were paying for our cable and internet service. We had fallen victim to the cable company’s insidious strategy: “Let’s give them a great introductory price for a year or two, then we’ll increase the cost to outrageous levels. Since they pay automatically with a credit card, they won’t even notice!”

Their plan worked- we didn’t even notice.

This has happened before. So I developed an insidious plan of my own *evil laugh*. It was simple: I would scare them into giving me a great discount by telling them I was going to cancel their service.

It worked.

My goal was to get them to take $50 off my monthly bill. First, they offered to take $10 off. I told them that wasn’t enough, and we went back and forth for a while. Finally, I accepted their final offer of a discount of $30/month. It was less than my goal of $50/month, but still, I would save $360/year.

That was several years ago. The discount I had negotiated was only good for a couple years. So when that discount expired, the price crept up gradually, until I looked at the bill a couple weeks ago.

It was about forty dollars more than I thought it was, and about fifty dollars more than what I thought was reasonable.

So I got on the phone and told them that I was going to quit unless they could lower my bill by about $90.

I know. Fat chance, right? But it doesn’t hurt to ask.

After the representative checked with her boss a bunch of times, asked me to confirm my address and birth date 17 times, and typed a novel into her computer, she finally got back to me with an offer. Since I was a “valuable customer”, she said she could discount my monthly bill by seven dollars. Seven. Whole. Dollars.

Stunned by their generous offer, I couldn’t speak.

“Sir, are you still there?”

“Ummmm… thanks, but that’s not quite enough of a discount to keep me,” I said. “Remember, I said I wanted to knock about $90 off my bill every month?”

To sum it up, after more negotiating and being put on hold two more times, I didn’t get a $90 discount, but I did get them to knock $35 off my bill every month, AND they increased the speed of my internet.

Total savings per year for about twenty minutes of my time: $420. Well worth it.

If you pay for cable and/or internet service, and you think the cost is too high, simply call and ask for a lower price. It’s as simple as that.

In this era of cord-cutting, they desperately want to keep every customer they can. So if you threaten to leave, there’s an excellent chance they will give you a nice discount to keep you from leaving.

When you call, don’t beat around the bush or give them a lengthy review of your financial situation. Just call and say something like, “I want to stay with you, but your service has just gotten too expensive. What can you do for me?”

Short and sweet.

Realize that negotiating won’t work if you’re still under the terms of your original contract. Many of these companies give you an introductory price for one or two years. Once that contract expires, you’re free to cancel with no penalty, and that’s when you want to negotiate.

Be aware that if they do lower your price, you will probably have to agree to a new contract for either one or two years.

So if you find yourself struggling to come up with a bit of extra cash every month, sometimes, all you have to do is ask. What could you do with an extra $35 each month?

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