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Guy is scared of calling companies, calls them, negotiates fees successfully

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Another one from Ramit’s Inbox on negotiating a fee away…

Here’s a good example of how you can get many fees waived in 2 minutes with a phone call. (It’s kind of curious that people email me instead of the company directly, but…)

From: Stephen T.
To: Ramit

Hey Ramit, enjoyed your book and it’s been a great help.

I signed up at to get my credit information, and this morning (a month later) got a happy note from them telling me they’d billed me $89 for the next year. I’d rather not use their service for the next year.

Perfectly reasonable request. So what should he do?

From: Ramit
To: Stephen T.

Call them

Sent from my iPhone

Let’s see what happens…

From: Stephen T.
To: Ramit

Hey, just an update on the MyFICO billing. I called them per your suggestion and they immediately offered a refund, and processed the refund while I was on the line. Impressive customer service.


Since you’ll be setting up an automatic monthly review of your finances (as I illustrate in extreme detail in my personal finance book), charges like this will never, ever slip past you.

Also, CALL COMPANIES — it saves you a LOT of money. No need to be scared. In fact, when I call companies, they get scared. Once you realize that you have the skills and leverage to get most fees reversed, your interactions with companies will be a lot more pleasant (since you’ll dominate them). Read more about negotiating fees.

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  1. Great advice,
    Companies often try to charge extra accidentally or on purpose, but it is up to the individual to avoid being cheated.

    Some related advice.
    1. Watch cash register totals. Companies frequently mis-price products and charge you more. I catch companies quite regularly, particularly outside of North America.
    2. Landlords often try to keep damage deposits. Check online and see exactly what you are responsible when you move out of your apartment and make sure your landlord knows that you understand the law.
    3. If you are paid by the hour, keep a schedule of your work to make sure you are compensated fully.

  2. Agree. Worked for me with HSBC and RoadRunner.

  3. “In fact, when I call companies, they get scared” I enjoyed the part where you mention that you make a not of all the calls you have had with the customer service rep in the past and quote it to them when you make a call next time. That really will show them a pro is at work…!

  4. Nice random pic of a Lindsey Lohan – looking girl holding your book at the end of the article. Are you trying to make personal finance sexy? =)

  5. Hah, calling is old school. I just did an online chat with Comcast and all I had to say was “I am looking for ways to reduce my monthly cost” and bam, my internet bill went from $45 to $33 a month with no change in service. Total time spent: 3 minutes.

  6. made a call to chase, they dropped my APR 4 points just for askin :)

  7. I always suffer from this, the fear of talking to one of my billers on the phone because I feel it is inevitable that I will not get what I want. Did you ever go into trying to deal with Healthcare providers over the phone? B/c they are by far the worst to deal with, that might be a whole entire book in itself!

  8. I hate calling companies. But I hate paying $89 randomly much much more. So I suck it up and do it when I have to.

  9. This is a great blog..I wonder why financial literacy is not taught in schools. As a former school teacher I hope American teens are also subscribing to it. Ramit, ever think of targeting that specific demographic? Just a thought.

    Keep up the amazing work!

  10. Hi Ramit,

    I loved your book and have utilized most of the information. Unfortunately, I had a very negative result today in trying to raise my credit limit. I tried to use your scripts as my guide and was firm and clear without being a jerk when speaking to a Bank of America credit analyst (my card is a Bank of America Mastercard) but not only did I fail, he cut my credit limit by 44% due to my modest income!!! He tried to cut my limit by 50% and I had to negotiate back up! Ugh. Clearly this will negatively effect my FICO score. Please help. Is there anything I can do? I do have an excellent credit rating and my FICO score is high…or was before that call. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  11. PS

    Oh and I do pay off my card in full each month by the way.

  12. They must get people a lot with that… I did the same thing a few months ago when I found $89 charged from them on my banking statement. Strangely enough, they were really nice about it as well. Took only a second and they gave me my money back.

  13. Hi I’ve called both CapitalOne and Bank of America countless of times so far to reduce my APR from 22% and 25% respectively and they haven’t done so. The only knock I have against me is that they both have high credit balances.

    So the lesson here make sure you’re making aggressive payments 2 or 3 times the minimum payments to have an opportunity at a chance of getting it lowered. I can’t make that much of an aggressive payment right now, so I’m stuck paying the minimums.

  14. Lohan Pic. Tacky. Exploitive. Sad. Dropping your blog. Bye!

  15. Today I found out that I got a late fee on my credit card…for $39! Like some people, I usually don’t like calling companies to negotiate things like this, and I actually work for the bank that handles my credit card! But I called and got the fee removed with no resistance from the service rep whatsoever. Took about two minutes total. Worst they can do is say “no” right? So what do you have to lose besides a few minutes of your time?

  16. I had the same situation as Nathan (called resulted in credit limit cut and interest raised) What am I doing wrong? My goal was to pay down debt and buy a home before I die. Now, I can’t even apply for a job with a low credit rating or even move anywhere cheaper. I’m screwed.

  17. The fact that someone would drop reading a blog with useful information because of one tacky pic of a confused little girl says volumes about the inhibitions and inner world of the person willing to drop a source of information that has been useful to him because of one slightly tacky gaffe.

    It is a sort of cowardice, to not confront things and engage, with openness, but rather to run away. I am not trying to be mean. But simply to encourage introspection. IF you found this blog to be useful, why abandon it without recourse because of one tacky act by its writer?

  18. I got my fees waived! Hurray!

  19. […] « Stephen T. was scared of calling companies, calls them, negotiates fees successfully […]