CHICAGO (CBS) — You can lower your credit card fees and even some of your bills by making a simple phone call.
But it all depends on how you do it.
Chantay Bridges dials her way to saving big bucks. She does it at least once a year.
“We’ve saved tons and tons,” she says.
Chantay cut what she pays for her phone, cable, utility and insurance bills and saved on credit card and bank fees and interest, just by calling the companies.
“I reminded them of our credit scores. I reminded them of our loyalty,” she says.
Finance guru Mitchell Weiss says it certainly can’t hurt to check in every quarter to every six months with businesses who bill you. And if you see a company advertise a special deal, take that as an opportunity to call and say you’re interested.
Weiss explains businesses want customers to stick around.
“It costs money to get them. It costs money to keep them. Why would you want to turn that over to a competitor?” he says.
So, how can you help guarantee success? Personal finance administrator Roblee Hoffman has some tips.
Review all your monthly bills and call each company, he says. The phone is the most effective way to negotiate.
Have two to three months’ worth of past bills when you call. Remind companies of who you are.
“Be a great customer. A great customer is one who has been with a company for a fair number of years and pays their bill on or before the due date and pays the full balance,” he advises.
Then, once you’ve established your history with the company, ask for lower rates, a cheaper plan and monthly fees to be removed.
If you can’t negotiate with a customer service rep, ask for the customer retention department or the president’s office. They may offer more incentives.
Always be professional and polite.
“The only time you want to be confrontational or say to a company that you’re going to go to another service is when you’ve prepared ahead of time and done
your research to know there’s other services available at a greater cost savings,” Hoffman says.
Chantay agrees that doing a little research about a company’s competition pays off.
“It’s worth the time and it’s worth your money,” she says.
Many credit card companies and banks say they welcome you to check in with them for better deals.