The reason I chose Michael Jordan is that he is the only famous athlete that comes to mind. Sadly, the second person I thought of was Bo Jackson. Man, how sad is that shit. Anyway, here are some emails I’ve gotten in the last few weeks about calling up companies and asking for better rates.
Thanks for the great blog. It just saved me 20 bucks in about 5 minutes. I just recently moved, and in all the mess, the payments for my 2 credit card bills arrived exactly 1 day late, as I found out by the finance charges on my next bill. I knew why I got the extra charges, and I also knew it was my fault, but because of your blog, I called the companies, something I never would have done before. I played dumb and simply asked why I had this new charge on my bill, and both companies took care of it immeadiately, without me even asking! “Oh, it appears your payment arrived one day late last month; that is why you have the finance charges. I’ll give you a credit for that right away.”
Thanks for giving me the mindset that I am a customer who deserves to be treated well.
* * *
A few months ago, when setting up my new number over the phone I requested a business savings plan for calling internationally. My new bill came this week, with $250 in international calls, some at over $10 a minute. I realized the international calling plan was never added to my bill – I just hadn’t noticed because there were no international calls on the previous bill.
My hopes weren’t high, because there was no proof I’d requested the plan, just my word. However, I called customer service, explained the situation as nicely as possible, and within a few minutes, my international phone bill was adjusted at the savings rate, saving me $232. It never hurts to ask, folks.
* * *
I actually called up Schwab, and told them about Ing and Emigrant. They immediately offered to put my cash in a Money Market with 5% interest, just to keep me with them. I decided to do that, until I figure out the next steps.
My goal with these kinds of posts is to get us all to take more initiative about the companies we do business with. I remember when I was a kid, I used to get so embarrassed when my parents would complain about the service or try to get lower fees. It took me a long time to realize that these companies work for me.
I’m willing to bet that if you called up the top 5 companies you pay money to today, you could get reduced fees on at least one thing. Better yet, if you save $30/month, you’re actually saving $360/year. Two or three of those deals start to add up.
These emails made me think of something. There are so many little things in our lives that we can call and negotiate to save $10, $50, $100, or more per month. I’m going to start posting one thing to do each week, every Monday.
PS–Yeah, I saw that the first email was actually his fault, slight as it was. If you’re trying to get fees waived for your own mistakes, that only goes so far. I once had a girl tell me about how she was negotiating her EIGHTEENTH OVERDRAFT THAT YEAR. I just stared at her, blinking.