Dialing up savings

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - If time is money, then taking the time to call companies to see if you can get a lower rate or save some dough may be well worth it.  Here are insider secrets to help you dial up savings.

Chantay Bridges knows how to dial her way to saving big bucks! She says, "We've saved tons and tons!" Chantay cut what she pays for her phone, cable, utility and insurance bills, and she saved on credit card and bank fees, and interest, just by calling the companies. She's got it down to a science! "I reminded them of our credit scores. I reminded them of our loyalty," she says.

Experts say Chantay's calling strategies are on the money, and you can actually try dialing for more savings even more often. Finance guru Mitchell Weiss of the University of Hartford says it can't hurt to check in every quarter to every six months with businesses which bill you. 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 because it costs more to lose a customer than to offer new ways to save. "It costs money to get them. It costs money to keep them. Why would you want to turn that over to a competitor?"

So how can you make sure dialing through the phone maze of customer service reps is worth it?  People Pay personal finance administrator Roblee Hoffman has been able to save people between 200 and 1,200 dollars a year.  Here's how: review all your monthly bills and try calling each company. The phone is the most effective way to negotiate. Have two to three months worth of past bills when you call so you can be precise about what you're paying. And remind companies "who you are."   Hoffman says, "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." 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. Always be professional and polite and research what the business' competition is offering customers. "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 it ahead of time and done your research to know there are other services available at a greater cost savings," advises Hoffman.

Savvy consumer Chantay says knowing what a company's competition is offering is key to negotiating. And if you've never called a business for a better rate, start dialing.  It could save you a lot of dough!  "It's worth the time and it's worth your money."

Many credit card companies and banks say they welcome you to check in with them for better deals frequently. And at least one cell phone company told us it would gladly review your bill to see if you're paying too much for minutes and data you don't use which could result in a cheaper monthly bill.

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