You don’t need to be an expert negotiator – or hard-nosed, for that matter – to score a better deal. If you think you’re paying too much for your insurance, internet or utilities, these four scenarios might help you get some dollars back in your pocket.
No one likes spending hours on hold, waiting to be connected to a call centre – we get it. And asking for a discount can make you feel a bit stingy. But by avoiding these awkward conversations, we’re paying a hefty price.
With a bit of research and some polite, purposeful language, you could save yourself some serious dollars. Here are three common scenarios that we hope will give you the motivation you need to pick up the phone and ask the question.
Scenario 1: Emily and the dreaded loyalty tax
Emily has been covered by the same health insurance company for ten years. Recently, she saw a promotion that offers new customers the same level of cover at almost half the rate. Emily’s smart part knew it was time to pick up the phone.
What she said:
"I've been a loyal customer of yours for six years and I noticed that the premium I'm paying now is significantly higher than what's being advertised for new customers. I’m very happy with the product and I’d like to remain a customer of your company, but I’m considering my options. Would it be possible to receive that same offer or similar?"
What she got:
Well, what do you know? Emily’s health insurance provider was able to extend the promotional offer to her. Now she’s got the extra coin to cover the gap for her teeth whitening.
Scenario 2: Jordan and the sneaky annual increase
Jordan bought himself a new ride last year. He did the smart thing and shopped around for a great deal on his comprehensive car insurance. The other day, Jordan got an email saying that it was time to renew, but his premium had jumped up significantly. Jordan opened up his email and got to typing.
What he said:
“I recently received my letter for renewal and it seems my annual car insurance premium has increased. Can you tell me why this is? I initially chose your company because of the great service and competitive offer. Would it be possible for the renewal offer to be reviewed so it is closer to my original premium?”
What he got:
The representative from the insurance company couldn’t drop the price all the way down to match last year’s premium, but he did get 60% of the way there. Plus, he threw in a year’s worth of free roadside assistance. Win!
Scenario 3: Ayusha and the Hail Mary upgrade
Ayusha has been working from home for a while but her current internet plan isn’t quite cutting it. She’s seen a great deal for an upgraded plan with a new provider but doesn’t want to pay the extra set-up costs. It might not bear fruit, but she knows it’s worth asking the question.
What she said:
“My internet usage requirements have increased as a result of me working from home. I’d like to upgrade to a higher plan to meet my needs. I have had a look at the plans you offer and identified which one would be suitable, but I have seen other companies offering more competitive monthly rates for the same amount of data and download/upload speed. I’d like to stay with your company as I already have everything set up. Would you be able to match the competitor’s offer to retain my business?”
What she got:
You win some, you lose some. Ayusha’s current phone company did offer her a heavily discounted rate on the package she wanted, but it still wasn’t the best deal on the table. She switched to another provider and is now enjoying lightning fast internet and an extra $14 in the bank every month.
A few things to remember when trying to score a sweet deal
The person on the other end of the phone is an actual human, and they probably do genuinely want to help you. Friendly and polite will get you a lot further than cranky and demanding.
Be clear with what you want. It can be easier to get a deal done when everyone knows the goal and if you’ve got an alternative offer let them know.
Know when to quit. If you find yourself going back and forth over a few dollars, it’s probably time to accept the offer or simply move on.
There’s never a perfect time to ask. Don’t be afraid to negotiate a new deal at any time, but you might get better results towards the end of the month or financial year when businesses are trying to hit sales targets or when your contract has come to an end and you’re more of a flight risk.
Businesses can’t provide good service for free. The reason your premium went up might be because the company has added an awesome new feature or has extended their level of cover. Sometimes it’s worth paying a little more to know that you’re getting a better product.
Finally, be aware that switching telco or utility providers frequently can impact your credit scores. SO keep those enquiries to a minimum, and if you're tempted to make the switch, be sure that you're getting a great deal.
Disclaimer: This article contains general information only, and is not general advice or personal advice. Wisr Services does not recommend any product or service discussed in this article. You must get your own financial, taxation, or legal advice, and understand any risks before considering whether a product or service discussed in this article may be appropriate for you. We have taken reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but the information is subject to change. We may not update the article to reflect any change.