Everyone knows that they should know how to bargain when buying a car, but the idea of haggling for some of life’s lesser charges is not so widespread. Who knew, for example, that you could talk down your dry cleaning bill or beat down the price of your mattress?
You should have, and now you do.
Here’s how to handle 5 situations where knowing how to bargain can save cash.
You’re most likely going to score a win near the end of your contract, because your provider is scared of losing your business. That’s because it’s harder for them to score a new customer, than to retain the one that they already have. Use this to your advantage.
If the first rep you speak with says they can’t help, ask to speak with someone in customer retention. That’ll shake them up.
People often sign on with a cellphone company on the strength of a promotion. Then, when the promotional period ends, they find themselves subject to a price hike. Your best bet on this front is to make a note of when your graces end, and to place a call just prior to that with a threat to cancel. More than likely they’ll have another promotional rate on the table in response to your I’ll-take-my-business-elsewhere noises.
Don’t get emotional. Be brief and to the point.
Take notes during your conversations. Make sure to get the names and employee numbers of everybody with whom you speak.
Most of all… Mean it when you say you’re ready to cancel.
Timing is really important forthis one, and you’re in luck! That’s because Gyms are generally hungry for members at thestart of the year, and are willing to negotiate with folks they know are only there to make good on New Year’s resolutions. Slow seasons like the dead of summer are also ripe for wrangling. These are the times when gyms’ promotions are at their sweetest, too.
As always, do some homework on your options before going in. Check out the best offers at competing gyms, and ask your friends what they’re paying. This way, you can lay down hard numbers as evidence and insist that they’re matched.
Hold your tongue before accepting a counteroffer. If you pause for a bit, the guy at the other end of the phone may well sweeten the deal in a hasty bid to stave off rejection.
If you can’t get much budge on the membership fee, ask for another perk, like free personal training sessions or towel service. The worst they can say is no!
Credit Card Debt
Credit card debt is a biggy when it comes to the value of the time you invest in negotiating with creditors. After all, with a big balance comes loads of interest, and serious bucks are at stake.
Credit card interest rates may not seem negotiable, but you can get certain fees waived, especially if you have a flawless payment history. If you have a good track record with your credit company, they’ll feel more inclined to forgive a late fee.
All creditors want is to collect their money from you and to get you to keep spending more, so suggest cutting a one-time payment, or work out a payment plan on a lower amount.
If you can’t talk down the principal, work on negotiating the payment terms to a place that is more manageable for you.
If you’ve fallen behind on your bills by more than 90 days, you could end up dealing with a collections company. Here, it’s useful to remember that this third party is interested only in making a profit on your debt, and it doesn’t require payment on the entire balance to achieve that.
Write yourself a script before calling the customer service arm of your public utility provider. If you know what you want to say ahead of time, and have notes to keep you on track, you’ll increase your chances of getting what you want.
Be polite. You won’t win points and you’ll draw out the drama if you lose your cool.
At the very least, suggest you negotiate a payment plan that fits your budget.
Furniture and Mattresses
Before you shirk at the audacity of making a claim on a furniture store, bear in mind that furniture and mattresses are sold at as much as a 200 percent markup.
Asking for a price reduction on your purchase is only one gambit in this arena. Also think free box springs, complimentary shipping and upgrades to higher-quality products.
Offer to pay in cash and skip the tax.
If you’re not getting any joy from the salesperson, ask to speak to the manager. If it’s a small, family-run operation, you’re probably already dealing with the owner.
Everything but everything can be had for a price, and the fact is that almost any bill is negotiable. In any case, it never hurts to ask; the worst thing that can happen is you don’t get a deal.