Bill Negotiation: Get a Better Deal on Cable, Internet and More

Leverage your loyalty to get a better deal from your cable provider, phone company and more.
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Written by Stephen Layton
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Co-written by Tiffany Curtis
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How to Negotiate Your Bills

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Many bills are negotiable, if you have the time and make an effort to contact your different service providers. And even if you aren’t able to negotiate a better deal, there’s nothing to lose by trying — you just might have some luck getting your service providers to lower your bills

Here’s how to negotiate your bills and some important things to keep in mind throughout the process.

How long does bill negotiation take?

Negotiations can be time-consuming and might require repeat phone calls or other communications and doing some research. Be prepared for the overall bill negotiation process to take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours.

Can you negotiate all of your bills?

It doesn’t hurt to negotiate any recurring bill, but certain types are easier to reduce through negotiation than others, mostly those in industries where consumers can easily leave for a competitor. These include:

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Research your provider and the competitors

Here are some tips for doing your research ahead of bill negotiation:

  • Sign in to your account and gather your account records. How long have you been a customer? How many years have you paid your bills on time? While you’re signed into your account, note the name and cost of each item that’s part of your service.

  • For cell phone bills, review your data usage. Reducing your plan size to fit your actual usage is an easy way to save. If your data plan already matches your usage, review your carrier's current plans. Carriers typically change plan costs to stay competitive. And don’t forget, you might pay a line access charge that isn't reflected in the plan cost on your carrier’s site.

  • Research the prices, packages and terms offered by your current company and its competitors in your area. Know the lowest prices they offer to new customers. This is what you’re gunning for: If a company can offer the lower price to new customers, it can offer the price to you, too.

  • Consider your constraints. Are you willing to reduce services or enter a contract to pay less?

  • Write everything down or enter it into a spreadsheet. Have it handy while you’re on the phone. Take notes about whom you talked to and when, and the information they gave you.

  • Explore different service tiers. Subscription services like Netflix and Spotify may not let you negotiate a lower price, but they do offer different tiers of service. Consider switching to the cheapest option or seeing if a family plan will save you more money over time.

How to negotiate lower bills

Try the following tips during bill negotiation:

  • Say upfront that you’re considering canceling your service and ask to be transferred to the customer retention or cancellations department. The representatives there likely have more leeway to cut a deal. Try something like: “Hi, there. I’m thinking about canceling my service because I can’t keep up with my monthly bill anymore. What can you do to help me out?”

  • If you're not happy with the rep's offer, mention your customer history: “I’ve been a customer for [X years] and I’ve never missed a payment. I really don’t want to cancel my service with you, but I’m going to have to unless I can get a better deal.”

  • If that doesn’t work, present the competitor offers you’ve researched: “I’ve been looking at my other options and they’re giving new customers [deal you looked up]. I also see that you are giving new customers [another deal you looked up]. What can you do for me here?”

  • The rep might offer you a deal on an ancillary service, such as six months of a free premium channel. If that works for you, take it. Otherwise, say something like: “Thanks, but the problem isn’t that I don’t have enough to watch, it’s that my monthly bill is too high. What can you do to lower my bill?” You can often get free ancillary services in addition to a lower monthly bill.

  • Hit these basic beats: You’re a great customer, there are better options, and you’re not afraid to go and get them. Be determined.

  • If all else fails, ask for a one-time credit for being a loyal customer.

  • Follow through after contacting your current service providers. Be sure to get confirmation of the new bill agreement, review it thoroughly and speak with a representative if you need more clarity.

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Should you use bill negotiation services?

If you don’t want to spend hours negotiating with companies on your own, you can turn to bill negotiation services like Experian BillFixer, Billshark, Trim or BillCutterz, which pair you with an expert who will negotiate with service providers on your behalf.

These services come at a cost; for example, BillCutterz is free to sign up, but takes 50% of the savings when they successfully negotiate a bill for you. So if they save you an extra $30 a month on your cell phone bill, BillCutterz emails you an invoice for $15 each month for the time period the savings cover. Billshark takes a 40% cut of savings, capped at two years, while Trim charges 15% of total first-year savings.

Experian BillFixer, on the other hand, is part of several services that Experian offers for a flat fee of $24.99 a month.

The potential benefits of using a bill negotiation service include:

  • Lowering your bills for current services

  • Reducing your amount of paid subscription services

  • Finding new opportunities to save more money on services

To determine if paying for bill negotiation is worth it, consider whether the potential savings will outweigh the fees for using the service. Also think about whether you have time, skill and patience to negotiate with companies on your own.

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