When times are tough and money is tight, many people find it difficult to pay basic bills in full every month. But did you know a simple conversation could dial up some relief?
Tara Ledford says it's tough shelling out the money to pay all of her bills at once.
That's why she made one of the most important calls in the book - to her cable and phone companies.
"Surprisingly enough he said they could extend my due date by 12 days," said Ledford. That will keep her from having to shell out extra cash in late fees and all she had to do was pick up the phone and ask.
It works for credit card companies too - when negotiating for lower rates. Just make sure you are prepared.
Kathy Graham with the Better Business Bureau said, "You don't want to be aggressive. Assertive yes, aggressive no. And what we would recommend is that you sit down and you write out what you are going to say so you can stay focused and on track so you can keep your mood as level as possible."
Marketing professor Mark Mitchell says most businesses are willing to negotiate. But when asking for a lower price, you need to speak with a manager.
"We don't always give the initial contact person the ultimate authority. We may hold that back for special cases and quite honestly key people who that's what they do well," said Mitchell.
Mitchell says you could also call your insurance provider to negotiate a lower rate. When you do, make sure you use key phrases. "I'd like to cancel or I'm considering options or I'm looking elsewhere, and that will trigger that to the contact person I'm going to transfer this call or this case to a higher authority and that higher authority has more options available to them."
It's also important to mention your loyalty to a specific company.
"Call them and say ‘look I've been a loyal customer. I've made all my payments is there any way that we could get my interest rate back down?'" said Graham.
And if you're not successful, don't take the first no as your final answer.
"If you are honest and you say I'm in a position where I might not be able to pay you at all then they might be more willing to negotiate with you," said Graham.
Two more phone calls that could save you big bucks - asking for a rental car or hotel upgrade for free. Company sources tell us they will do that from time to time based on availability and when consumers just simply have the guts to ask for them.
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