When I met my husband he was working remotely from home for a DC based company. He only ever used his cell phone for personal calls but he had a Vonage line for work (and for my mother on nights and weekends). Now he is working for a local company and we really haven't been using the Vonage line much anymore, especially not now that my parents are on our cell phone plan and living in town.
My husband's solution was to just cancel the line but it is still sort of convenient to have it- for those
I've had it on my to-do list for some time now to call & ask if we can lower our monthly bill somehow but the Hubs was so convinced they'd have no incentive to do that for long-standing customers of 5 years who have never been late on a payment. ;)
I figured Housewife Week was the best time to get 'er done so I called this morning. Here is a condensed (but for the most part) accurate transcription of our conversation:
Me: "Hello. My husband and I have been customers for over 5 years now but we are debating whether it makes sense to keep this service or not. My husband used to work from home but now he doesn't and we rarely use this phone line. I wanted to ask if there are any promotional rates or discounts you can offer to help us make up our minds about continuing this service."
Representative: "Absolutely, I can look into that for you. For security purposes, can you answer your husband's security question- 'What is his favorite TV show?'"
Me: "You are asking me if I knew what my husband said was his favorite TV Show on a random Tuesday in 2005 before I even knew him? Uh, no. But I can tell you the last 4 digits of his SS#, our address, our account number, the amount of our last bill, his shoe size and how many times he hit snooze this morning before actually getting out of bed."
(This is seriously how I speak to customer service representatives. I think I'm funny and it helps keep my blood pressure from going up on those calls that don't go as easily as this one.)
Representative: "Yes, Mrs. 2010's Housewife, I've opened your account and if you could just give me one moment to review it please."
(No, I did not make her call me Mrs. 2010's Housewife.... but don't think I didn't consider it!)
Representative: "Since you & your husband have been outstanding long-term customers, Vonage would be happy to offer you a 50% rate reduction, from $24.99 to $12.50 per month. You will not be required to sign a contract for this offer and it will be good for the next 12 months. I will also apply a $6.50 prorated credit on your account for this month. Is there anything else I can do for you today?"
Me: "Could you please call my husband and tell him I said 'Boo-yah'?"
Even I'm surprised by now easy that was! I've read a lot of blogs & magazine articles on ways to cut spending and save money. I get so frustrated with them because all of their suggestions seem like common sense to me or are things I am already doing. Make a budget- check. Spend less than you make- check. Pay off high interest debt first- check. Pay off your credit cards in full every month- check. I was beginning to think I was doing just about all I could to cut spending.... but still wanted to cut back more.
I guess I should have paid attention to all of them when they said "Call your utility companies and ask for a discount." Some people are good at talking to customer service reps. I am not one of those people. I almost always get frustrated because they almost always start with "NO!" before even listening to you. And don't get me started on all the companies/services that offer great promotions for new customers and tell long-standing customers they get nothing.
I think what made this situation work so well for me is that I wasn't bluffing. We had determined that the cost was not worth the benefit and that we could live without that service if we needed to. Could we come to that realization for our cell phones or cable? I don't know about that but I think next on my list is to look at every other service we make a monthly payment for and ask ourselves that question! Think our mortgage company will be as nice? :)
Have you had a good/bad experience with asking for discounts? Leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story or tips!