Carriers know their customers’ frustrations with the increasing costs of service plans, so the companies are keen to keep you if you give a good argument, says Mike Pugh, vice president of marketing for j2 Global, a California-based global provider of Internet services. Even if you’re in the middle of your contract, pull together at least three of your past bills and highlight concerns about rising costs, which could range from unexpected fees to taxes. Then, call customer service and ask for a better deal. It costs companies less to negotiate a new contract than to lose a customer altogether, so carriers offer retention specialists for the purpose of offering perks, deals and additional discounts. Don’t forget to also mention competitors’ deals.
If you’re at the end of your contract, call your operator and ask the company about the process for switching to another provider, says Bernard Gutnick, senior director of product marketing with ShoreTel, a provider of business communications products based in California. “When they ask why, tell them you have an offer to switch for a terrific discount. Don’t even tell them who it is from. Let them make you an offer to stay, even without a contract renewal.” After your carrier makes a first offer, ask the rep to make it even lower, and then settle on some agreed-upon amount. Competition is fierce in the mobile world, says Gutnick. “So remember the first rule of negotiating: If you want a discount, ask for it.”