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Gabby’s July Challenge: How I Haggled My Way to a $77 Phone Bill Refund

Hey beautiful people!

So my challenge for July was to try and haggle my phone bill down a bit. Currently I’m paying $97/month for unlimited call time and 1G of data, plus all that other good stuff. Seems like a lot, right? Yeah, it’s insane.

As a loyal Bell customer, I simply told them that I would love to know if they could reduce my bill because $97/month is a little steep. I’m a student, and I’m going to have to pay OSAP fees soon. Just tell them your situation – it helps if they can relate.

The first girl I talked to was really nice and helpful. She said the best they could do was lower my bill to $65/month (WHAT? IT’S THAT EASY??) but I’d have to pay out the rest of my contract, so it would be better for me to wait until my contract is up and call them back to discuss the same deal in 3 months. Cool. I can deal with that.

TIP: Keep a record of your calls. On an Excel sheet, write a detailed description of who you talked to, what you talked about, and what they said they could do for you. That way, if you call back in 3 months to inquire about a bill reduction, you’ll know exactly what was said and can go from there.

So for kicks, I asked if there was anything they could do right now to reduce the bill. She mentioned I’ve been paying $7/month for a phone protection plan, and they could stop charging me that to make a bit of a difference. When I first signed off on an insurance plan about 20 months ago, I was told that if my phone was broken or stolen I would get a brand new replacement phone for free…which is the only reason why I opted in.

Sidenote: Don’t get insurance. It’s not worth it. Unless you’re really clumsy with your phone.

When I was talking to her about it, I asked for a quick refresher on what I’m getting out of my insurance plan. She told me if it was broken or stolen, I’d have to pay a fee for the new phone.

WTF. That is NOT what I signed up for. I mentioned that to her and she transferred me to the Insurance Dept., who then transferred me back to Customer Care because dealing with these fees are not in their department. Sigh.

So I called Customer Care back, explained my situation, waited on hold for 20 minutes…and they hung up on me. THEY HUNG UP ON ME. I called back, frustrated at this point, but still managed to be polite. I once again explained my situation and was told the best they could do was reimburse me for 3 months.

Not good enough. I went on hold. He told me that “I’m actually really lucky” because Bell is the only provider that will give you a brand new phone. I said that’s great, but I was given false information with the impression that I would be paying $7/month to get a new phone if needed, free of charge.

I went on hold again. He said the best they could do was reduce it by 50%. WOW. Clearly 3 months wasn’t the “best they could do.” At this point, I’m pretty happy, but I want to see how far I can push this. I once again explained my frustration, asked to speak to his supervisor, who also told me the best they could do was 50%. While I appreciated the 50%, I said I would love to go down to 75%, otherwise I’d like to be transferred to the Customer Retention Department (aka where people go to leave the provider).

He put me on hold, threw a bunch of logistical information at me like, there is a limit they can’t pass, something about reaching a threshold, and that he could add one more month onto that 50% for a total of a $77 refund. While it’s not 75%, I’ve been on the phone for 2 hours. I’m done playing this game, so I’ll take what I can get.

SUCCESS! I was reimbursed.

All in all, I’m looking forward to a $65 phone bill in 3 months, which is pretty exciting. If you don’t ask, you’ll never receive!

Tips for haggling phone bills:

1.) Stay calm and polite. These people deal with shitheads every day and they are just trying to pay their bills too, so try to be a decent human being. It will also make them want to help you more.

2.) Be firm. Go in with a goal in mind and stay focused on that goal. My goal changed when I realized I was paying for something I didn’t sign up for.

3.) Read your contract and know what you’re paying for. In my case, I mentioned how a Bell employee misinformed me and that I should be able to take the employee’s word, which worked, but you won’t always be able to get away with it.

4.) Realize that you could be on hold for 20 minutes, hung up on, or get transferred to the wrong department. These things happen, so try to keep your schedule fairly clear, because these things take a while.

5.) If you’re not a loyal customer, chances are, they won’t give you the moon. I’ve been with Bell for over 4 years and I still have to haggle like there’s no tomorrow.

6.) Know what other providers are offering. Call them up. Tell them you’re thinking of switching and ask them what they can do for you!

For an amazing reference, look up Ramit Sethi’s 6 Powerful Telephone Scripts here!

What are you paying for a phone plan? Any tips you swear by when it comes to negotiating? Let us know!

Happy haggling,
– Gabby

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