How to Negotiate for a Better Deal with Your Cell Carrier

Like many other Sprint customers, I have been anxiously awaiting the release of the BlackBerry Curve 8330. Today it finally became available. However, I just purchased a new phone with a two-year contract from Sprint last year, long before the original Curve for AT&T was even released. As a result, I was only eligible for $75 off a new device when I signed up for another two-year contract, which makes the Curve an unattractive $524. If I was a new Sprint customer, I could purchase it with multiple discounts and rebates for $179.99, but by staying loyal to Sprint for the last eight years, I was screwed. Or was I? I called Sprint and told the nice electronic voice that I wanted to cancel my service. Without a moment of hold music, I was transferred to a customer service agent, who asked why I wanted to cancel. I calmly explained that I had been patiently waiting for the Curve to come to Sprint, but I was put off by the $524 price tag as an existing customer. I pointed out that it was cheaper for me to pay the contract termination fee of $200 and purchase the Curve as a new Verizon customer for $169.99 than it would be to buy the Sprint Curve as an existing customer. The agent instantly offered me the new customer price of $179, waived all fees, and promised to have it to me by Tuesday afternoon. I ended the call by thanking him for his courtesy and assistance. So what’s the moral of this story? Be nice and you can get whatever you want? Sprint is desperate to keep customers? Or did I just get lucky with a good customer service agent? Anecdotal evidence suggests that it’s a little of everything. Here’s how to get what you want from your cell provider.

  1. Be polite. Just like sending back a bad meal at a restaurant, you’re much less likely to get unwanted spit if you act nice and polite. The customer service agents know you’re the customer and that the customer is (almost) always right; there’s no need to point it out. On that same note, if you get a customer service agent who isn’t friendly and clearly doesn’t care what your issue is, politely hang up and call again.
  2. Do your research and know what you expect the outcome to be. It only takes a few minutes to look up another carrier’s pricing online, but being able to point out how the other carrier is offering you a better deal is vital to getting what you want.
  3. Be prepared to cancel your service. Let the agent know that you don’t really want the “hassle” of switching carriers, but you’ll do it for the savings. If you still can’t reach an agreement that you’re happy with, leave the provider—you’ll most likely never get what you want from them.

Have you ever tried negotiating a better deal with your carrier for the latest phone? What have you done to get a discount? What’s worked for you? What hasn’t? Share your tips and experiences in the comments.

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  1. jenny Says:

    Did you still have to renew your contract?

  2. Meghan Clark Says:

    Yes. I had one-year left on my contract, but I started a new two-year contract with them. So I’m committed to Sprint for two years.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    That is wrong……..with situation do not offer this way of position because it will not work

  4. Jessica Says:

    I did the same thing last year when the blackberry 8703e came out. Sprint wanted $499 for the phone due to my contract. I Wound up getting the phone at the new customer price of $150 because I told them I would switch providers. Exact same senario. They will do anything to keep their customers. Plus, i leared that buying a new phone is like buying a new car. The dealer has plenty of adjustments to work with. The customer just has to know how to work the system

  5. Angie Says:

    Today I experienced the almost exact same thing with my carrier (Rogers Wireless Canada) I had bought the HTC Touch in March of this year and have not been satisfied with it since I got it. I called today and talk to a rep about the phone and the only thing my contract was allowed to upgrade to the new iphone 3G, and I did not want this phone at all! So I ended up telling the rep that I know that there must be something he could do for me without me spending a ton of money since i just spent almost $600 on the phone I have. Well I got my BB Curve with a bunch of extras for no cost! I was extreamly happy with everything. There is too many wireless companies out there today that will gladly take your business and they know this when there is an unhappy customer. And I have also learned that with your BB if you call the company directly and tell them there is a problem with your BB they will send you a new and most likely the newest modle of BB, but you must do this before your warenty is up.

    Hope this tip helps for those of you who didnt know that!

  6. Penny Says:

    I also have the HTC Touch, and I’m thinking of changing to the Blackberry Curves. Do you like the Blackberry Curvers better then the HTC touch and why?
    Thanks

  7. Mike Says:

    I would have to agree that the number one thing to do is be polite! Some good info. There’s an article here that has some additional insight including finding the right person to give you what you want!

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