abstractjello (abstractjello) wrote in self_sustain,

Negotiating bills

Terms on credit cards are negotiable.  In a recent "hair up my ass" quest, I called each of my credit card carriers in an attempt to get my interest rates cut, or something, to make me feel like an appreciated customer.  It worked for the most part.  It just takes some time, some sucking up, and good negotiation skills.  I know, the best way out of credit card debt is to never get into it...but being young and stupid, I racked up my fair share. 

Credit cards #1 & 2 (same bank)-were not able to lower my interest rate, although they did waive one year of "account maintenance fees".  While I was on the phone with them, I asked if they could remove some old late charges (at $20 a pop), for a total savings of $178, and they reimbursed the interest that was racked up from the late fees as well.

Credit card #3-waived the monthly maintenance fee for three months, for a total savings of $20.85.

Jewelry Store card #1-Was able to sweet talk them into taking off the card insurance, since I had the card for a few years without any hiccups in payment (savings of $40/month), and the lady also made it retro-active for three months ($120 credit) and credited back the interest from the $120. 

Jewelry Store card #2-I was able to extend out the no payments (and more importantly) no interest.  It had been initially set up for 12 months, but I was at month 10...A little flirting, and viola, I get 12 months back.

Jewelry Store card #3-(yes, I like my jewelry) Card initially had 3 years, no payments but racked up interest.  By negotiating, I was able to change the terms from the no payments with interest to "payments, no interest" by putting a 10% down payment on the original balance, and setting up payment terms to pay the balance off within 1 year. 

Credit card #4-would not work with me, so I cancelled the account, saving the yearly maintenance fee.  After I got my next statement, since my account was no longer active, my rate got dropped to 4.9% APR...if they would've done that in the first place, I would've kept it open.

For the most part, if you threaten to cancel your card, they will try to keep you as a customer.  If they don't try to keep you, go ahead and cancel the card; we don't need them, anyway. 

I have Dish Network, and have been a Dish Network subscriber for about 3-4 years.  My hubby watches Fox News, which is only available on the more expensive package.  We were paying almost $70/month.  I went on to DirecTv's webpage, and saw they had a better deal, although I really didn't want the hassle of switching...so I called Dish Network, and without much squabbling, was able to reduce my monthly rate to the DirecTv introductory price for one year...total savings?  $30/month.

In short, companies want our money, and would rather give us their services at a reduced rate than see us go to the competition.  I thought it would be embarrassing at first to "jew" down my bills, but after the first one, I started getting cocky about it...If you decide to do this, don't be afraid of requesting to talk to their supervisors, and don't be afraid of cancelling your account.  There are always other options out there. 
Tags: money saving tip
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