Your phone and cable company could charge you a lot less than they do right now and still make a healthy profit. We know this because whenever you call up and threaten to cancel your service because it’s too expensive, they almost always offer you a better deal immediately. However, haggling with your phone or cable company for lower prices takes time and patience, which is why I was intrigued to see The New York Times’ new report on a company called BillFixers that does all the hard work for you in exchange for taking half of the yearly savings you get.

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What makes BillFixers more effective (and shadier) than similar services is that they call up your phone or cable company and pretend to be you, not just your representative. While this definitely falls into an ethical gray area, having people impersonate you on the phone doesn’t violate any terms of service from the major cable and telecom companies and it’s probably perfectly legal as well.

The Times got to sit and watch the team at BillFixers call companies on behalf of their customers for a couple hours and picked up on some common and effective tactics. Here are some of the highlights:

  • If you’re given an option to “Cancel my service” when you first call your phone or cable company, you should take it. This will immediately put you in touch with a retention specialist who will try to butter you up with better deals.
  • Be sure to have offers from rival companies on hand and ready to quote. If you can prove better deals are out there, your current company is more likely to match them.
  • Be polite — not only is it the right thing to do but it will make customer service agents want to help you more. After all, these are people who get yelled at by angry customers all day and dealing with a polite customer will be a relief.
  • Most importantly, be sure to write down the details of your offer and call back to speak with another representative. Make sure that you quote them the exact offer you received to make sure it gets put properly into the system. Oftentimes, the original representative will actually enter in a deal that isn’t as good as what you were promised.

There are a bunch more essential tips and tricks over at the Times’ piece. Check it out for yourself at this link.

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