Lower Your Bills

By John Bridges - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -    It seems we're all trying to cut back on spending these days.  But one thing you may not have thought about are your utility bills.  We found one Lake Area consumer who took just a few minutes on the phone and saved her family hundreds of dollars.

Stephanie Gill didn't realize she was going to lower her cable and internet bill when she called to cancel her internet service.

"The lady asked me why.  I told her right now in these times, some things we just have to cut out. She said she could probably help me out if I would keep it.  I told her it would definitely have to suit me to keep it.  She actually lowered it with my cable and internet together, she lowered it over 30 dollars."

More and more businesses don't want to lose customers when times are tough.  They'll do whatever they can to negotiate with their customers.   And that could mean a lower bill for you.

Gill says before you call, make sure you have all your paperwork before you..and a good payment history.  She did so well with the cable and internet, she thought she try with the credit card company.

"I was calling to see if I could lower the interest rate on my card."

When the person on the phone said there was nothing he could do, she kept asking.

"Okay, is there someone else I can speak with?  I've been a member for five years now and I've never called and asked for anything.  So is there someone else I can speak with?"

She got the supervisor.

"Okay, so it's going to go from 19 to 13, 13.3?  Well you know everything helps."

"She reviewed my account and the best she could do was 13.3 percent.  I don't know if I should have asked for more, but I was happy with that.  Going from 19.9 to 13.3...I'm very happy with that."

So within just a few minutes on the phone, she was able to lower her cable, internet and credit card fees.

"If you don't ask, you won't know.  You can sit there and say "I  wish I could get that."  Well if you ask maybe you could get it for less than what you thought.  I believe that.  It works for me.  I was planning on doing without internet and now I've actually saved more on my monthly bills and I still have the internet."

Here are a few tips to remember:

1.  When you call, ask for the customer retention department, if the company has one.  They are there to specifically keep your business.

2.  Another idea is to mention that you may want to switch to another company for a better offer.

3.  Stay calm and pleasant on the phone.  No one wants to negotiate with a bully.

4.  Even if you're locked into a cell phone contract, a great way to save is to look at your usage and the plans available.  You may be able to save big by making sure you're on the right plan for you.