Save $$ Call your subscriptions/utilities yearly.

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by atszyman, Aug 4, 2006.

  1. atszyman macrumors 68020

    atszyman

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2003
    Location:
    The Dallas 'burbs
    #1
    The following contains a rant and some decent advice at the end. I've tagged them so you can skip my ranting and avoid all the venting.

    Rant
    After canceling my current security monitoring service to move to a new provider at less than half the price (a massive debacle due to a cancellation letter and them not liking the fact that my signature did not match the original service contract from 5+ years ago) and calling the Dallas Morning News about the auto-renewal on our Sunday paper subscription I have found that it pays to contact some of your subscriptions/utilities on a yearly basis and act like a new customer or threaten to cancel.

    The newspaper renewal was costing nearly 2x what it would run to go to the grocery store/gas station on Sundays to get the paper so I called and complained (I am 95% positive that I shut off the auto-renewall option last year, but they renewed me anyway). When I asked about canceling and getting a refund, they said they could cut the cost by half making it slightly less than retail.

    The Security monitoring service, after a few heated phone calls (why my security password was not enough for canceling and they needed a signature that matched the original contract I'll never know), made me an offer that was significantly less than what I was paying on a monthly basis.

    Why is it that a company, once they have you signed up, takes every opportunity at their disposal to try to screw you out of more money? I would think that treating existing customers well would pay off immensely since it has to be cheaper to keep an existing customer than to recruit a new one. Cell phone companies used to be the same way but I have noticed an improvement since number portability came in to the mix.

    I almost had the same problem with DSL but when I originally signed up they said that the rate was a promotion for the first year and I asked what happens at the end of the year. They told me to call back and renew for another year to get whatever the new promotional rate was. That ended up cutting our bill by $10/month.
    /Rant

    Advice
    The lesson to be learned here is that on a yearly basis it's probably good to call any subscriptions you have that are auto-renewing, and any of your set fee utilities, cell phone, security, cable, internet, etc. Either act like a new customer (use a different phone than your home phone) or threaten to cancel for a cheaper service and see what they can do to match. In the past 5 months I've managed to free up almost $500/year. It angers me to think that a lot of this money could have been recovered years ago but I was just complacent in accepting the rate hikes as they came along.
     
  2. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #2
    I'm glad you got them straightened out... it's very true that utilities and other subscription services take advantage of long term customers. Especially the ones who have competition -- they tend to spend all their time courting new customers instead of doing anything to make their existing ones like them. Similar things are getting much better monthly plans for cell service when you call and complain. And watching out for any freebie offered by your credit card company :rolleyes: to make sure that you are not clandestinely being asked to authorize payment in perpetuity....
     
  3. Arnaud macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Location:
    The Moon
    #3
    Cellphone companies have foggy policies, as well as Internet providers.

    Nowadays, after one year of subscription, you can usually get a new phone with your renewal, or something similar.

    Last time I went to renew my subscription, I indeed got a new cell-phone, but I had to renew the contract for 2 years instead of one. The reasoning of the salesman: "You have one of the high monthly forfaits, so you cost our company a lot, and we have to secure a longer-term contract for you than for someone paying a lower monthly fee". Wtf ??? :confused:
    Conclusion: any other idiot would have had the same cell-phone for only 12-month contract, but I got it for 24-month. Let's talk again about being a good customer.

    I know the salesman got me on that one, but he was in the good position; I didn't feel like dropping the whole contract and checking yet another provider.
    But well. An idiot I can be. :(
     
  4. atszyman thread starter macrumors 68020

    atszyman

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2003
    Location:
    The Dallas 'burbs
    #4
    Actually you didn't do that bad. Looking at Cingular and T-Mobile most phones have the hefty discounts with a 2 year agreement for new customers as well. Since number portability the cell phone companies have improved greatly. Previously when my wife or I wanted new phones we usually ended up paying a pretty penny or having to switch providers which would have meant a new phone number which was a pain as well. Now you can hop form provider to provider keeping the same number so they have to offer better incentives to get you to renew contracts.

    The one to watch would be the continually changing plans/minutes and how much they cost. If you're not phone shopping you could end up on a lower minute higher cost plan when the contract runs out and never think twice about it since your bill didn't change.
     
  5. Arnaud macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Location:
    The Moon
    #5
    Yep, true on both counts.

    I had to get a little heavy on my internet provider some months ago: "I've been a client from more than one year, how come newcomers pay less for more broadband?". But they changed my forfait then... :D
     
  6. rdowns Suspended

    rdowns

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    #6
    I've been doing this for years.

    Chase bills me annual fee for my points earning debit card, I call and threaten to move my account. Fee waived.

    Amex bills me annual fee, threaten to cancel. Fee waived.

    Call Newsday because paper is delivered too late and I have to read it the next morning and want to cancel. Paper starts arriving earlier and I got 2 months free.

    I've gotten BJs to waive an annual fee (no go the second time around).

    Be polite and firm and you usually get what you want. It costs companies way too much to gain new customers. Much cheaper to accommodate an existing customer.
     
  7. gauchogolfer macrumors 603

    gauchogolfer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Location:
    American Riviera
    #7
    Now *that's* what I call customer service :eek: :eek: :cool:
     
  8. atszyman thread starter macrumors 68020

    atszyman

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2003
    Location:
    The Dallas 'burbs
    #8
    I was wondering how often you have to go to get an annual fee, much less tet it waived.

    I know he's talkin about BJ's resaurant, but lot's of fun misinterpretations there...
     
  9. yojitani macrumors 68000

    yojitani

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2005
    Location:
    An octopus's garden
    #9
    Or better, cancel your subs and they come anyway. At least that's what happened with the NYT for me... for the last two years. I had a 3 month promotional sub to the NYT, cancelled, but the paper kept coming. I even called a second and third time to ask them to stop. Still, they didn't stop coming! I cancelled because I never had time to read the paper so I used the 2 years of papers for packing and the like...
     

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