With The New iPhone On The Horizon, Now Is The Time To Threaten Your Cellphone Company

With the debut of that new super iPhone thing only a few short days away, now is the time to threaten your current cellphone company. What’s that? You have no intention of switching cellphone companies for the iPhone? Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon’s retention reps don’t know that. Do they?

Reader Scott is jubilant over the huge discount he got from Sprint:

Took advantage of the upcoming launch of AT&T’S iPhone 3G to squeeze a lower rate out of Sprint PCS. I’ve had to endure a decrease in Sprint service at the same price for the past year (crappy reception, slow network, can no longer send pix via SMS (thanks, a’holes)), so I told them I was switching to iPhone.

They gave me a whopping 25% (TWENTY-FIVE percent!!!) discount on my voice plan, zero discount on data plan. No mention of a contract extension whatsoever.

Give them a call and see if they can hear you now.

Here’s how you do it. Note: It really helps if you don’t have a current contract, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try:

  1. Call your current cellphone company.
  2. Tell them you intend to cancel. You should be transferred to a retentions representative.
  3. Say something like this:

    Hi, my name is ___________, I think I’ve been a good customer, but that iPhone looks really enticing, and I’m thinking about switching to AT&T.

    I’d like to stay with you, and I was wondering if there was any way you could _______ (throw me a discount, free text message package, something). Can you help me?

  4. Stand firm and negotiate.

Some cellphone companies try to tack on a contract extension with a discount, so make sure they do not do this. Good luck!

(Photo: Steve Rhodes )

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. homerjay says:

    FIRST!!

    Just kiddin… DON’T BAN ME! :)

    If I were to hear that speech as a rep the first thing I would think was that the caller was just trying to get a lower rate and has no intention of leaving at all. If he was going to leave, he’d just say he wanted to cancel. Is it me?

  2. Michael says:

    I used this a couple weeks ago with Sprint when I was adding a line for my wife. My contract is up in Feb. 2009 and just the threat of “well, my wife really likes the look of the iPhone…”, they were all about helping me out. Here’s what I managed, to give you an idea on what you can do:

    Previous plan: 450 fair/flexible minutes + txt messaging – about $50 a month with taxes on older phone (due for upgrade in Dec. 2008)

    New plan: 500 minute SERO plan with 450 bonus minutes, unlimited txt and data for EACH line, accelerated upgrade to get Samsung M520 for each line – $60 + tax each month for BOTH lines

    So, yes, I could have walked away and paid the $1800+ over 2 years for an iPhone and I did have to sign a new 2 year contract, but for this price and pretty good luck with Sprint (shocking, I know!), why would I want to go anywhere?

  3. eirrom says:

    Did this last time the iPhone came out and it worked for me with Sprint. They became all soft when I threaten to leave. Maybe I’ll try it again. I would be willing to leave so if I can’t get something for nothing, I might have to leave.

  4. MayorBee says:

    @homerjay: Nope, not just you. I used to work for Sprint (in a store). We didn’t have the same offers as retentions, but if someone would give that speech, I would think to myself, “Go ahead, cancel if you want to”. Of course they were supposed to call customer service so they could be transferred to retentions if they wanted to cancel.

    When I worked for Sprint, there was a field in the account that rated you on dollar signs. I kid you not. You could have zero to five dollar signs and these would determine what offers the system would present. The dollar signs were calculated based on churn rate, current services, rate plan, prior acceptance rate of offers, and some other factors that they didn’t tell us about. So, if you pay your bill on time, don’t call in to customer service too much, and don’t tend to cancel services, you have a better chance of getting “good” offers from Sprint.

  5. originalread says:

    That doesn’t surprise me that sprint would do that. I have had good luck with retentions getting whatever I wanted over the years for the majority of the time.

  6. IndyJaws says:

    Sprint seems to be extremely proactive right now in trying to keep subscribers. My family plan contract ends in 1 month, and I’ve received no less than 3 phone calls and a dozen mailers with various offers. Really wish I could take advantage of their (and my) situation, but I can’t take being with them any longer. It’s not as much the poor customer service (some has been good, some awful), but that their network has really gone downhill over the past year, especially in terms of coverage. Plus, I really want a JesusPhone.

    However, for those out there who want to stay with Sprint and especially have a contract expiring soon, you should be able to wring out a great deal, much like Michael above.

  7. Scuba Steve says:

    I’d like to ask my phone company about playing hardball, but alas, It’s AT&T.

    I know it’s wrong to see SERO people get screwed by Sprint, but man, it feels good sometimes.

    I wouldn’t try this unless you are interested in switching and don’t have a huge reason to stay at your original phone company, as reps don’t have a huge incentive to offer everyone that calls a great deal.

  8. montecon says:

    any luck with this for switching AWAY from AT&T? I dont really have a problem with them, but I’m not under contract and wouldn’t mind paying less with someone else…

  9. badgeman46 says:

    That Obama poster is a little creepy. Kinda reminds me of those posters of Mao/Stalin/Che (insert totalitarian leader here).

  10. picardia says:

    I think my contact is up this fall. Hmmmm. Hmmmmmm.

    And if they did call my bluff, I think I could deal with that; the new iPhone is rather tempting.

  11. theblackdog says:

    My contract with Verizon expires next month, and my BF is trying to get me to jump ship to his provider, AT&T. I may have to look at his plan and see if I can use it as leverage against Verizon to give me good rates.

  12. dontbemadbrad says:

    I called Sprint’s Retentions department three days ago to negotiate for a better plan and got a fairly good deal.

    My old plan was
    Family Plan 2100 minutes
    3 Lines

    My new plan is
    Family Plan 2100 minutes
    4 lines
    Unlimited texting for entire family
    Unlimited data plan

    My new plan is only costing me $30 more (my data plan is $10/month!) It isn’t the greatest deal in the world, but considering this didn’t extend my contract I’m still pretty excited.

    My contract runs out in August, so I’m going to call again and see if I can get some better upgrades for our phones. Why not see how far I can take it? All this thanks to articles I’ve found here!

  13. ConRoo says:

    Homerjay: I agree with you. This speech sounds like the consumer is scamming the company. I personally don’t think it’s cool to lie about your intentions to get a discount. If you think your just “getting your due,” that’s exactly why businesses have become impossible to work with. The lack of honesty from both the consumer and the business sector is just plain embarrassing.

  14. evslin says:

    @ConRoo: After seeing stories about how it would cost 14 hojillion dollars to transmit an MP3 over SMS because providers know they can charge out the ass for text messaging, I say turnabout’s fair play. Granted you won’t make everybody happy, but if these companies did away with overcharging for stupid stuff like that they’d probably see the number of customers trying to “scam” them go down as a result.

  15. farker says:

    I’m going to try this with Sprint in a few months (Contract with them expires on 10/1/08). Right now I share a plan w/ my mom because she’s a government employee (USPS) and gets us a 25% discount.

    Unfortunately, that discount doesn’t apply to any of Sprint’s Everything plans (450, 900, and Simply Everything).

    So hopefully a Retentions person at Sprint can help me out so I don’t jump ship and get the iPhone.

  16. pjmorel3 says:

    “No mention of a contract extension whatsoever” doesn’t mean much. I’ve had new contracts unwittingly imposed by both Sprint and AT&T (after upgrading service, after having a phone stolen and suspending the line). I’d be circumspect about any deal seemingly wrested from a cell phone company. They usually get the last laugh.

  17. philly_phenom says:

    Given that T-Mobile is rasing the price for their texting, it doesn’t matter if you have a contract or not – they are breaching it already :)

  18. dmuth says:

    Not to be a big jerk or anything, but if you call up your cellphone company and tell them that you want to cancel, yet have no intention of doing so, isn’t that um, you know… dishonest?

    We blast companies when they are dishonest, so why should it be okay when we do the same?

    As George Carlin once said, let’s not have a double standard here. One standard will do nicely. :-)

  19. The-Tree says:

    that guy who got 25% off in the post

    his contract was extended, he just doesn’t know it yet.
    Every friend of mine that says they are gonna get an Iphone over my Verizon dare in my location I just laugh at them. ATT is HORRIBLE in my area, so people get them, realize how bad the network is, and come back to verizon haha

  20. IphtashuFitz says:

    I wonder if this would work in reverse. I’ve been an AT&T customer for a long time (don’t get me started – I know everybody hates them but I’ve gotten decent service from them for over 10 years now) and I’m considering getting an iPhone. However one big drawback to me is the monthly cost, especially if you include the outrageous text message fees they’re including. So if I call them up after the new iPhone starts shipping on July 11 and tell them I’m planning on upgrading my old moto clamshell to a smartphone and am considering the iphone if they can give me a decent price is there a chance they’d go for it? I’d certainly consider similar alternatives from other carriers if they give me a good incentive to leave AT&T, and I’m sure some of them would if I shopped around. But I’d like to go with the iPhone if I can finagle a better deal out of them.

  21. zentec says:

    Verizon has been hot to get me to do another two year contract for 3 out of 4 lines. I asked them what was in it for me because we’re all happy with our phones, the service and the current pricing. The Verizon sales rep produced a stare of utter disbelief that I would not consider being under a contract a “good thing”.

    All I had to do was mention the iPhone and the offers came forth. Still haven’t signed; why should I if I don’t want new phones?

  22. exkon says:

    I believe it would be appropriate to change the title of the story. “Threaten” That’s a little strong, seems to me like you’re telling consumers it’s okay to threaten companies to get what you want.

  23. mike says:

    It’s a bit off-topic, but still worth asking. (So I’m taking a bit of a risk here mods!)

    With AT&T releasing a contract-free iPhone, what does that mean for people who are buying the iPhone, canceling after one month? It seems like those people would have to pay the full-price for the iPhone.

    I would assume that AT&T/Apple are doing this to stem the jailbroken phones.

  24. D14BL0 says:

    This is pretty dumb, in all honesty. All a retention rep will do is drop your services down to a lower package, which lowers the cost. You can do the same thing, yourself, WITHOUT having to spill your guts to some retention rep. You’re not getting a “better” deal, just downgrading.

    I work with billing reps for X phone provider every day. Trust me, they very, VERY rarely will ever actually lower the cost of your services as opposed to just downgrading you to a cheaper package. The only time you’ll actually get a truly cheapened is if you are too poor to actually pay your bill.

  25. When you do this, be sure not to call them using an unlocked iPhone with your T-Mobile SIM card in it. The friendly rep I talked to called my bluff and gave me nothing. (But I had a good reason for calling: T-Mobile doesn’t work inside my apartment. AT&T does.)

  26. nEmmY says:

    did anyone try this on t-mobile?

  27. D14BL0 says:

    @linus: They’re not doing much other than making them pay the ETF, which is usually something like $200 or more.

  28. pixiegirl1 says:

    Here’s another idea. If you work for a large company you might get a discount just by being an employee of that company. You can always ask at whichever wireless provider your looking at if they offer employees of your company a discount. I work at Costco and they have a deal with Sprint that Costco employees can get a discount on their plans. No threats needed! :-)

  29. MBPharmD says:

    This is very timely for me. My contract with Sprint is up and our 2-year-old phones are looking pretty sad. Anybody have any ideas to get 2 new phones for super cheap/free (would be willing to re-up on contract)?

    I’ve never understood why cell phone companies won’t give as good (if not better) offers to long-time customers with proven track records, as opposed to new/unknown customers.

  30. jbinc1 says:

    This tactic does actually work in a lot of situations. You have to know your plan details well and you have to be willing to drop the service if you don’t get what you want. Don’t make idle threats. With the way the economy is, companies are more willing to try and keep your business than to have you go elsewhere. Sometimes you don’t even have to threaten to change companies. I’ve had good luck with the cable company, phone company, and my home/car insurance providers. I recently called the cable company to see if there was some way to lower my bill and I came out with a better service plan and a discount for always paying my bill on time (an additional $15 per month for 1 year). It never hurts to call and inquire even if you don’t want to change services/providers. You won’t receive a call from them if rates go down or plans get better.

  31. Michael says:

    @ConRoo:

    I wouldn’t so much say it is scamming the company – it is giving a little power back to the consumer to negotiate prices. When we are locked into 2+ years of service, mandatory arbitration that we never win, up and down customer service, spotty service, more and more expensive plans, why not call up a provider and let them know you are thinking of switching for X, Y and Z? Sure, if you say you are thinking of leaving, they know you probably are not going to, but if you are calm, polite and know how to ask, it doesn’t hurt to shoot for a little more for your buck.

  32. I went to Verizon yesterday, flashed my faculty/staff I.D. card, and got an 8% discount on my monthly bill and a 12% discount on my BlackBerry fee. Hey — it doesn’t hurt to ask, right?

  33. AT203 says:

    I’m toying with the idea of the “playing ignorant” approach. Call up you non-AT&T provider and say that you would like to upgrade to an iPhone.

    At this point, I bet you that the Customer Service Representative (CSR) has a script to handle this question. I imagine that it is a frequent question. They will explain that they do not have the iPhone, and probably try and switch you to another smartphone. At this point, you hold the line and tell them how GREAT the iPhone is (I don’t think it is at all), how it is the best phone out there and you are SHOCKED that your provider doesn’t carry it. Perhaps they will explain the exclusivity agreement with AT&T and how it isn’t their fault. This is just more ammo for you. “Oh, so I need to cancel and go with AT&T?”.

    I’d like to hear if this works for anyone. I think it is great leverage.

  34. @MBPharmD: Why don’t you just buy phones outright on E-bay? I do that with Verizon… I buy a new phone for lets say $50, go online, activate it on VerizonWireless.com — And better yet, my contract doesn’t get extended. It’s so much easier and cheaper in the long run to stay out of a contract and just pony up the $50. (Verizon charged $200 for a phone I bought for $49.99) And I also sell my old phone on E-bay as well, make back some of the money I spent on the new one.

  35. Prions says:

    Oh wow. “Threaten” really?

    I honestly don’t see how this is different from a large company lieing to sell you something (such as “bait and switch” tactics). Both are dishonest.

    It’s amazing how quickly people fall off of their high horse and sink to lieing to save a buck

  36. post_break says:

    I’m simply “going out of the country” and my sprint plan drops to $6 a month for 0 service while I sign up at ATT for the iphone. Good thing I only have 6 months left on my contract because thats the longest you can “be out of the country”.

  37. BuddyGuyMontag says:

    Could I use this to get a new phone with Verizon? I currently have the ENV and I hate the keypad because I have big fingers. (Front keypad, not the qwerty keyboard). The ENV2 keypad would be a HUGE help.

  38. amesville says:

    Man. I’ve had T-Mobile for going on seven years, and I have the sweetest package in the world – 1500 anytime minutes, free evenings and weekends (not that I need them with all those anytime), free text messaging – all for under $50/mo before taxes. I don’t know what would happen to that if I upgraded to a Dash, but right now, I’m not seeing a strong incentive for me to try anything to get a better deal. My advice? Pick a carrier, pick a plan you like, and stick with it.

  39. Frank_Trapasso says:

    Anyone – like me – with a SERO or a further-discounted SERO plan might not want to try this one.

    The last few times I tried for upgrades, I got sterner and sterner warnings about having a nonstandard plan that was discounted on top of discounted. (SERO and 15% University of Maryland discount)

    They may be trying to keep users, but they’re intent on sloughing off those who have gamed their system. Best to lie low.

  40. guilliam says:

    What makes me mad about Verizon is their ‘new every two’ policy. I’m a longtime customer and my contract is up and yet, they will give me $100 credit for the first phone if I resign but my second phone I only get $50 off. But NEW customers get more than that off of all the phones they buy! Our second phone is up at the end of the month, so we may switch to another company.

  41. temporaryerror says:

    @MBPharmD:
    At the risk of gleaning the hatred of other commenters, Radioshack often does have much better prices on phones than places like the Sprint store and some auth. retailers. That being said, you still (may, depending on what store you go to) have to deal with a possible limited selection, and depending on what sort of associate you get, related sales pitches and protection plan speeches. That aside, it may be worth a look (disclaimer, I worked there for a year and hated every minute of it. Also, keep in mind that the employees make most of their money on cell phone sales and add ons…)

  42. nsv says:

    I did this about two months ago with Sprint. I called and told them I hated my new phone (true,) and I was going to return the phone and cancel the contract.

    I was immediately transferred to Retention, who asked “What can we do to make you stay?”

    My answer:

    1) 6 PM nights. (I got 7 PM.)
    2) Unlimited free calling for three numbers. (Sprint: “I’ve never heard of that.” I got it anyway.)
    3) A discount. (I didn’t get it because I’ve already got one.)

    I might have sounded more convincing because I really was ready to throw the phone into the toilet, but I’m sure anybody could do it.

  43. Gomerboy says:

    @nsv: Hopefully those three numbers weren’t in the Sprint network, since all Sprint to Sprint calls are free, anyways. (But I’m sure you knew that!)

  44. highmodulus says:

    Good article. Negotiating seems like a better term then “scamming” as there is an absence of fraud IMHO. The Telcom’s don’t really intent to obey their contract with you (see e.g. willy-nilly price hikes on text messages) so many of these issues come down to the “boys will be boys” standard of bargaining misconduct. I know Sprint will cheerfully toss my account into the dumpster if it suits their bottom line.

    I have stuck with Sprint, as I am out of contract and I have a cheap plan they don’t offer anymore. But, Verizon is building a tower like a 1/4 mile or less from my house. I may be tempted to join the Evil Empire for all over the house 4 bar goodness.

    I was seriously jonesing for the iPhone 3G, but with the seriously expensive service plans (at least double to triple what I am paying now) I think I will give them a pass for now.

    Happy 4th all!

  45. MBPharmD says:

    @temporaryerror:

    Better than the slew of AT&T $0.01 phones on Amazon right now? Doubtful. There’s a few on there costing -$75 right now. Sprint may have to step it up to keep me.

  46. yikz says:

    @dmuth: if Verizon is going to utilize a retention department as a last option to keep customers happy, people should use it.
    Verizon could have avoided this by keeping people happy in other ways:

    Add new phones. The HTC 6800 is a year old on Sprint, and 7 months old on Verizon. The Samsung i760 is about the same age. Is that they best they can do? Verizon has new handsets, but nothing that is appealing for smartphones.
    Verizon has jacked their SMS rates, yanked “unlimited” data and they’re incredibly greedy about tethering. This is greedy and arrogant. It will drive customers away.
    From what I hear on the street, Verizon turned down the iPhone.
    Hmmm. Add all of that up, and it’s a big opportunity to look elsewhere.
    AT&T comes along with the hottest phone, lower price, and they’ve invested in their network. If Verizon thinks they can compete against that with a retention department, they’re going to have to hire a lot more employees for the retention department. Verizon is missing the message: Empower the average sales employee to retain customers, put out better phones, and quit being so greedy, especially when it comes to data and tethering.

    There’s nothing worse than being powerless against a big corporation. People like freedom. I’m aware of market conditions. I enjoy having a choice. I want service and features with a good network and a great phone. I want someone to challenge Verizon. Verizon will hemorrhage subscribers to AT&T if they don’t do something. Likewise, if AT&T thinks that the iPhone and the lipservice about 3G are enough to increase business, the public will quickly figure out if AT&T’s network sucks. If that’s the case, the iPhone crowd will raise a ruckus and leave.

    Verizon should have been on the phone with HTC and RIM a year ago, prodding them for better phones. Verizon should have had a series of new phones slated for release during the last 3 months. RIM makes a great business phone, but people want more.

    I’ve had a Treo for 2.5 years. I’ve been due for an upgrade, and running without a contract for 6 months. I’ve been waiting patiently for Verizon to put out some new phones. The only phone that is mildly interesting is the PPC6800, which was on Sprint 1 year ago. That doesn’t cut it. Verizon has increased rates, and they are a day late and a dollar short when it comes to new phones. I pay $45 a month for Verizon’s version of unlimited data, which isn’t so unlimited anymore, and I can’t tether unless I pay more $$. I pay $100 a month for 2100 minutes of voice, and $10 for text. If AT&T is putting out unlimited voice for $99, $30 data, and whatever for text, while putting out the hottest phone for less money, then I’m leaving Verizon in the dust for AT&T.

    The retention departments at Verizon, Sprint had better have buckets of cash, because they’re going to have to pay their customers to stay.

  47. I do this every 6 months with Comcast… they keep giving me $30 off my package price. Its all really just a game in the end…

  48. reachjer says:

    No surprise that the OP dealing with Sprint got a discount – Sprint’s been falling on hard times lately, and their customer service is rated the worst in the industry. On the other hand, I’ve heard that Verizon doesn’t even have a retentions department, and has no problem canceling your account since they know you’ll be crawling back.

  49. fullerenedream says:

    @ post_break: Are you sure they aren’t also extending your contract by 6 months?

  50. vesuvian says:

    Three lines, 1400 Fair and Flexible minutes, Vision on one line. Nights starting at 6:00 p.m. (critical for West Coast). Corporate affiliation discount. Tax and license out the door – $90 and change.

    I did take the Kool-Aid contract but WTF, I’m a shareholder! Ha ha ha. And their service is very good in my area and my family’s area – new network, etc. Can hardly wait for their femtocell offering and their Clearwire package.

    In retrospect, while it would be nice to be “in” and REALLY sweet to have a Sprint-compatible iPhone, it’s not in the cards.

    Just out of curiosity, Sprint does make GSM phones and cards available for international travel. How exactly would that work in the US?

  51. meefer says:

    I don’t think I could do better than Sprint SERO although I have heard of magical Sprint employee plans. I don’t use that many minutes a month, I am a pretty heavy data user though. Coverage is pretty decent in Southern Cali anyways (no better or worse than ATT IMO).

  52. meefer says:

    @yikz: I’m guessing the HTC Touch aka 6900 isn’t doing anything for you. I think the Touch Pro aka Diamond w/ slide out keyboard is due on Sprint early 2009. Verizon many moons after that though. If you’re on a 6800, use a cooked ROM from PPCGeeks and you should be much happier with it. You can tether with PDANet on a Treo on Sprint, not sure about Verizon. I tether once a week or so without issue on Sprint.

    /Gizmodo’d

  53. haoshufu says:

    If you call your provider trying to use the ‘cancel’ tactics, just be ready they will call your bluff. I have read cases that the retention rep would just go ahead and cancel your account right there before you could say ‘hold on’ and puff, you can’t make any more cell calls.

    Sprint knows what everybody’s prices are. They know you will be paying more at AT&T. They also know they don’t have an iPhone to offer you. You talk too much about prices, they know you are bluffing. You show a must have interest in an iPhone, they will just let you go.

  54. StellaSquash says:

    @exkon: Have you seen your cell phone bill lately? Phone bill? We’re getting nickel and dimed for everything. I personally would have NO problem whatsoever calling a company and saying “show me that you want my business”. Companies that couldn’t care less, typically show it in all areas.

  55. Prions says:

    @StellaSquash: Ah but then you don’t need to do business with those companies.

    Don’t be so entitled.

  56. m4ximusprim3 says:

    My wife did this when we got our new instincts. They overnighted them to us free of charge, and even gave us more minutes for the same rate (although we’ve never gone over our minutes before, so this is probably moot :) )

  57. enderx says:

    It’s articles like these that ruin the cell phone industry. On this site alone, there are eight billion whiney bitches that post about poor customer service, raising rates, and everything else.

    It costs the company when you screw them you know. the customer service industry sucks balls because of stuff like this.

  58. dimodica1 says:

    I called Sprint because my business has 6 telephones, we all share 3500 minutes. I wanted 4 new phones with the rebates they were offering for new customers. We fought for an hour before they were willing to give me the phones at a discount, but they wanted to change my plan. We had no problem of going for another 2-years but we have a good plan. I guess my $275.00 for the last 8 years meant nothing. I Phones here we come!

  59. Bourque77 says:

    @enderx: They are simply trying to get the best deal possible that the cell phone providers already give to certain companies. I get 22% off my bill from verizon and im a nobody in my company so obviously they can do that for everyone if they wanted. They just want to make that extra 22% profit.

  60. mdoublej says:

    @badgeman46:

    Obey Giant (artist Shepard Fairey) made some Obama posters, not sure if he made that one, but sure looks his style.

  61. artgarciasc says:

    So, my GF calls Sprint to find out when her nextel contract is up. The CS rep at first tried dodging the question and instantly tried making her buy a new phone and sign a new contract. So she finally said STFU and tell me when my contract is up. The answer, it has been up for a month now. My GF say’s cool cause i have been looking at the iphone, do you guys have that? The rep replies, yes we do, it’s called the instinct. GF says, thats not an iphone, rep says, thats our iphone. But is it an actual iphone as you are claiming, answer “no”. Told them Bye, Bye i will be canceling soon. Ever since Sprint has been ringing the phone everyday trying to get her to stay and take a crappy ass instinct.

  62. nsv says:

    @Gomerboy: They weren’t in the Sprint network, and a month later I ran into a family emergency and started spending hours on the phone with those numbers. That move saved me a lot of money.

  63. battra92 says:

    @badgeman46: You know with the way that he gets protrayed I’m just wondering when the whore of Babylon will show up.

    For me, I can’t call them about new rates. I’m already getting a discount through my company and I’m on the most basic plan possible.

  64. SmartedPanda says:

    I recently did this for my dad got a $5 dollar discount, and that’s about it. = Should’ve tried better.

  65. fafi says:

    if you have a windows mobile phone there’s a program you can download to get picture mail via sms to work. [smms.vision5.com]

  66. snowburnt says:

    it probably makes it easy if you have sprint since they’re hemorrhaging customers right now

  67. Luis says:

    Thank you for this post, I’ll have to do this this weekend. I hate being on Sprint, but $175 to cancel, plus the cost of an iPhone just isn’t possible/practical right now.

  68. hardtoremember says:

    In my experience with Sprint when I called to cancell they went from offering me a new phone all the way up to 6 months of service to keep me. I took neither.
    Sprint in particular is and has been bleeding customers and I wouldn’t doubt for a second that they will do whatever they can to keep you.

  69. owenw says:

    Lol, I wish we could do this here in New Zealand – I must add the first country in the world to get the iPhone – we have only one choice Vodafone, there are only two competitive companies here, vodafone and telecom, and telecom doesnt have SIM cards, their phones are limited and completely locked – at the moment. SIM is coming soon to telecom…pity they just have to make the move to GSM from CDMA (UGH!!)

    I want an iPhone, but its not going to be feasible at all here.

    [www.owened.co.nz]

  70. sarcastibitch says:

    @montecon: I’ve gone to other providers than mine (I’m with Telus in Canada) and said “this is what Telus is offering me to keep me as a customer now that my contract is up, what can you offer me?” Sometimes they’ll match it and sometimes they’ll beat it. Usually I just do that as comparison shopping and then take their offers back to Telus and get them to knock a few more bucks off / add another feature or two.

    Ever since numbers became portable between carriers I’ve found that companies are willing to work a little harder to keep my business.

    Whenever my contract is up I calmly point out to Telus that I’ve been a good customer for 7 years and haven’t been late on a bill and ask what they’d like to do to keep me a customer and explain that I’d like something along the lines of what they offer to new customers. I haven’t gotten the new customer package but have managed to score things that work out to be a larger amount of dollars not spent over my contract.

  71. PC_Pal68 says:

    Pretty tough to negociate if the company you’re already with is also the iPhone provider.

  72. Edge231 says:

    Well, the first three letters of consumerist is CON. So yeah, threatening to leave a cell provider just to get a better price (when you had no intention of leaving) is dishonest and takes advantage of a company.

    You want to save money? Quit wasting your money on frivolous things, like StarBucks coffee, beer, cable.

  73. parnote says:

    @dmuth: I don’t call it dishonest … I call it getting a better deal. And with the executive bonuses paid out by these companies, I don’t feel bad at all for trying to get a better deal!

  74. Edge231 says:

    It is dishonest. The better way would be to ask if the cell provider can offer you a better price. Let them know the competitor is offering X minutes for Y dollars a month etc…

    Don’t lie and say you are thinking of switching when you really are not.

  75. znewman3 says:

    My plan without bargaining:

    Free smart phone
    Unlimited nights(7pm) and Weekends
    500 anytime minutes
    Unlimited data and text
    $15 per month

    No contest. I think I’ll stick with Sprint.

  76. maevealleine says:

    I am waiting for the open-source Goggle Phone. Works with ANY service and most of the cool applications with be free!

  77. dancingruru says:

    This worked with T-Mobile as of about an hour ago! My contract is not even up – it’s until next June. I got about $15 off of my monthly bill (free text package and free data package), and a free Samsung phone. The only catch being my contract will end next July instead of next June, which doesn’t matter to me anyway. Thanks for the tip!

  78. lolinternetz says:

    I just got off the phone with Sprint, and have to say: that made me happy!

    My previous family plan:

    Two phones (myself and my wife)
    1400 anytime minutes
    unlimited nights and weekends (7pm)
    unlimited Sprint to Sprint
    $99.00/mo

    My new family plan after I called retention:

    Two phones (myself and my wife)
    1400 anytime minutes
    unlimited nights and weekends (7pm)
    unlimited Sprint to Sprint
    $50.00/mo

    This article saved me money! Pat yourself on the back.

  79. jook says:

    I’m a current ATT customer, but my contract ends this month. I’m thinking of going on T-Mobile prepaid with my current phone, since It’s unlocked. Is this a good plan?