Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Tuesday Tip: Call your Electricity/Cable/Telephone/Credit Card Provider

Everyone is always looking for a good deal but not everyone has the time to go comparing electricity plans or telephone plans. I'm convinced that with the advent of comparing companies like iSelect and Compare the meerkat market that there is some conspiracy where these companies take turns to be the lowest cost... then up their prices so that another becomes cheaper which spreads out the customer base while maintaining a steady income. But then I'm always paranoid that someone is trying to cheat me out of my hard earned buck.

But here are some quick and easy tips for saving some money WITHOUT changing providers:
  • Sometimes its not a bad idea to listen to what a competitor is selling and take notes. Usually this comes in the form of those poor souls who go door to door. I feel so sorry for them at the same time I am annoyed that they come to the house ESPECIALLY if they wake the baby.
  • Call your existing provider and ask them what deals are currently on and whether they can do something better for ya (helps to say that a competitor was at your door and that they were offering a better deal but don't tell them the specifics yet)
  • Being super nice to the person on the phone also helps. Friendly but firm... remember these people are still trying to take your money.
  • I find that saying that you've been very happy with their service and it would be such an utter wretch to have to leave them because someone is offering a better deal. 
Some additional tips: 
  • Even if you are on an existing plan the good people behind the computer can find something to sweeten the deal. 
  • If you're on a plan and the company changes rates on you or changes the terms of the contract, you have (in most instances) up to 30 days in order to call them and call foul and exit the plan with no exit fees. 
  • Set reminders for yourself to call these guys every 6 months of so to check if there is a better deal (I've been told 3-6 months by the guy at my electricity company but who has that time)
  • For credit cards, call before your annual fees are about to be charged and tell them you're considering dropping the card because you have others. Sometimes this results in a reduction or refund of some fees. This only really works if there is no balance outstanding on the card. 
So far I've had success from doing this with my electricity and telephone provider with some marginal success with cable because you have to call after your plan runs out and then bug them to change you to the one they are offering to new customers, so far this has been hit and miss. 

Just recently I got my electricity company to change my discount from a 18% to 40% discount. Saves me a couple of hundred a year. It was a 5 min call and didn't require any additional paperwork or fees. It may not be the absolute best deal out there but it saves me money and I didn't have to go do any research or through the hassle of changing providers or dealing with contracts and paperwork. 

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