Many seniors could benefit from lowering their monthly bills. It's reported that around one-third of all seniors experience financial difficulties. Even if you have plenty of room in your budget, reducing the amount you regularly pay out can give you more to save for the future and use for leisure activities. Read on to learn about bill negotiation and get tips on how to get lower rates.
Bill negotiation is when you work with companies you regularly pay bills to in order to secure lower rates. In some cases, negotiating results in permanently lower costs. Other times, you may be able to take advantage of short-term promotions that temporarily reduce a bill. When the promotional period ends, you can then renegotiate to get another deal.
Many types of bills have the potential to be lowered through negotiation. Some services that may be willing to negotiate include:
To successfully negotiate a bill, follow these steps.
First, gather information about your account by reading a statement or logging in online or through a mobile app. When you contact the provider, you’ll typically need to know your account number for verification purposes. In addition, determine what your current rate is. Look at your payment history to determine how long you’ve used the provider and whether you’ve paid your bills on time.
You should also make note of the customer service phone number. Some companies have multiple numbers, such as one for tech support and one for billing questions. At these organizations, it’s usually the billing department you’ll need to work with to request a lower rate.
Before you get in touch with the provider, do some research so you can gain an advantage during the negotiation. Find out if the provider is currently offering any specials for new customers. Also, contact two or more competitors and ask for a free quote. Jot down the details in an organized manner to ensure you can quickly refer to the information during the negotiation call.
Next, set a realistic goal for your negotiation. Based on your research, you should have a feel for how fair your current rate is. Use this information as the basis for your goal. For example, if competitors’ quotes are all around 10% less than your current rate, a 12% decrease could be a realistic goal.
Once you have your goal set, contact the company by phone. If an automated system answers the call, choose an option related to billing.
When you’re connected with a live person, politely state your name, say that you want to discuss your current rate and ask if the representative can assist you with that. For instance, you might say, "Hello, my name is [your first name and surname]. I’m calling today to discuss the rate I’m paying for my cable services. Can you help me with that?" Keep in mind that you may need to be transferred to a supervisor or a different department.
When you’re certain that the person you’re speaking to is able to discuss rates, begin the conversation by making a request. Be specific and ask for slightly more than your goal so you can negotiate as needed.
Say your goal is to lower your bill by 15%. You might say to the representative, "I recently obtained quotes for 20% lower rates from Company Name A and Company Name B. Since I've been your customer since 2001, can you match that price?"
In some cases, the representative may immediately agree to your request. Other times, they may counter with a slightly higher price. Weigh the counteroffer carefully against your goal and decide whether to accept. Feel free to make a counteroffer of your own. For example, if the representative comes back with 10%, you could say, "How about 15%?"
If your negotiation is unsuccessful, it may be worth it to switch to one of the providers you obtained quotes from. Thank the representative for their time and then contact the new provider to start the process. Don’t cancel your existing service until you've secured another.
Bill negotiation is just one way to save money each month. Some other things you can do include:
Make a list of services you subscribe to, or use an app like Rocket Money to compile them. Cancel any you no longer use or can go without.
Look for print and online coupons for things you buy frequently. Ask stores, restaurants and service providers if they offer any loyalty programs or perks.
If you have unused space in your home, downsizing may help to save you money on things like utilities and maintenance. As you weigh your options, consider Bethesda Gardens Phoenix senior living community in Phoenix, AZ, where you can enjoy a spacious floor plan and a suite of wellness and lifestyle amenities. Contact us today to learn more.
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