You can save quite a bit just by making a few phone calls and asking. A KCRA reporter was able to lower her bills by $318/year. She was able to secure better rates from her cell phone provider, local newspaper delivery, internet service, as well as her cable television bill. See the details on KCRA's website. Bob Sullivan, from MSNBC, also noted some similar success with getting credit card interest rates lowered. In his article at msnbc.com, he notes one customer was able to shave 5 percent from his bill.
Long time SavingTools readers know we love to talk about negotiating. We've talked about buying a car, lowering your hospital bills, getting a better insurance rate, and how to negotiate a better deal on other purchases. The secret to success in negotiating lower bills is really about being okay with hearing, "no," while also finding a way to make the other person say, "yes."
It's not about winning or losing. It's about finding common ground and a solution where both parties win. The best way to do that is to listen, really listen to what the other person has to say about why the answer is no. Start by bringing up the bill in question and explaining that you have a question and believe the charges are too high. Listen closely to the response of the billing agent. At all costs, remain calm and cool, even if you don't like what you are hearing. I'm not saying don't be angry, I'm saying don't express your anger with aggression.
Respond with your logical reasons why the bill is too high, even if it's just that you can't afford it right now and need a concession. Psychology Today says, "If you never hear 'no,' when you negotiate, you haven't asked for enough." Getting to no gives you a place to start from where you can find enough common ground to get a yes. Certainly the representative can agree that a small payment is better than none.
Provide your argument logically and calmly and follow up in writing on any agreements received over the phone.