Save Serious Money On Your Cell Phone Bill By Making One Phone Call

Theresa had a contract with Helio/Virgin Mobile that ended this month, putting her in a position to negotiate. She writes that by comparison shopping and politely asking for the customer retention department, she and her girlfriend were able to knock $35 per month off the bill for their family plan. Here’s how she did it.

Just thought I’d share a success story about the power of being a smart, polite, well-informed consumer!

My girlfriend and I have a family cell phone plan with Helio (now owned by Virgin Mobile) and our two-year contract ended this January. We like our service, but we wanted to pay less. Our company was already offering a new phone or $20 off our bill per month, but I thought I could do better.

So we started shopping around. We found a comparable plan at metroPCS that would cost us about $30 less per month. I didn’t want to end my service, but I know it’s important to be well-educated about other offers.

I called Helio to see if they could give me a better deal. They offered me $25 off my bill each month instead of $20–not enough for me. They also offered free extra minutes, but I explained that we don’t use up the few minutes we do buy each month, so that wouldn’t help us. The customer service rep said they couldn’t offer me anything more and I ended the call.

I called back a little while later and asked to speak to customer retention. Apparently that’s the magic word! I was soon connected to a friendly, helpful customer service rep. I explained that we like our service, but found a better deal elsewhere, and we were thinking of cancelling. She quickly escalated their offer to $35 off our phone bill each month! We got to keep the service we like while paying much less, and we didn’t even have to commit to a new one-year contract. My only regret is that I didn’t try to hold out for even more.

Keys to my success, which I’ve learned from Consumerist
1. I was unfailingly polite but firm in what I wanted.
2. I had researched my options and was able to back up my threat to cancel with proof of a better offer.
3. I didn’t give up before reaching someone with the power to give me what I wanted.
4. I didn’t jump at the first offer I received.
5. I was nice to the service reps–after I got the final offer, I even asked to speak to the manager to praise the woman who had helped me.

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