For years, we here at Consumerist HQ have heard anecdotal claims that negotiating for a better rate from your cable provider is no longer as simple as it used to be. The discounts weren’t as deep, people would say, the offers were on the weak side, and in the wake of bad PR, companies have seemed more willing to call customers’ bluff and let them cancel service painlessly. Of course, anecdotes do not equal data, so we wanted to know: is this actually a thing? [More]
The FCC has proposed a kind of arcane-sounding rule change that on the surface might not seem to affect consumers very much. But if all goes well, the rule will prove to be the kind of upstream change that prevents all the you-know-what from flowing on downhill to everyone else, and makes one of the most annoying things about cable TV into ancient history.
Earlier this year, Amazon began offering one of the very few categories of items not already available from the mega-retailer: collectibles, including the famous Saddle Ridge Hoard of rare gold coins. This may or may not catch on with Amazon shoppers, but raises an interesting question: what if you could easily make an offer on any item on Amazon, or even any item for sale online? [More]
Unless they’re flea market regulars, modern Americans are not great at haggling. It’s why we hate car shopping so much. Most of us want our prices posted on the wall or on a little sticker, and that’s all. But simple haggling can save a lot of money, and it can be relatively painless. You just have to say seven words.
Mike forgot to pay off the balance of a purchase he made on a Best Buy/HSBC credit card by the no-interest deadline and faced more than $500 in charges. On a whim, he followed our advice for launching an Executive Email Carpet Bomb and Jedi mind-tricked Best Buy into forgetting about the interest.
The problem with using credit cards is that although they make it seem like they’re magic buy-everything passes, eventually you get bills and have to pay for all that stuff you bought.
Haggling is commonly accepted in some facets of the market and laughed off in others, but the division between the two can be blurry. Kiplinger rounded up five items which you might not have known you could talk money off the price tag:
The New York Times Bucks blog talks up a medical bill negotiation tactic that saves people who are in the know thousands of dollars. The secret: Pick up the phone and ask the billing department guy how much he’ll take off your bill if you pay in full immediately.
There is more than one way to skin a lease. Not only can you negotiate to bring costs down, but there are other ways to slash your rent budget. Well-Heeled Blog digs up a few that might not have occurred to you.
Hank at Own the Dollar doesn’t need Toastmasters or debate club to teach him how to work the negotiation table. He says he gets all the know-how he needs from the History Channel show American Pickers, in which hosts travel the country looking for pieces of American history.
When you pay $40 to make sure your product gets shipped overnight, it had damn well be delivered overnight. Reader and frequent commenter ilikemoney coughed up $40 to Walmart to make sure he’d be able to sleep on the futon he ordered the next day, but it took five days for the sweet dream factory to arrive. Instead of flipping out and declaring a national emergency, he stayed cool, sent Walmart a calm, direct letter and got his money back.
Globe-trotting movie blogger Jeffrey Wells describes how he carefully negotiated his iPhone data plans as he hit the Cannes film festival, but was humbled by a $3,200 bill when all was said and done. The grizzled writer half expected the nonsense and calmly talked AT&T down from the ridiculous demand.
So apparently apartment vacancies were up to 8% in the last quarter, which is weird because one would assume that people getting tossed from their foreclosed houses would be renting. Marketplace has some thoughts on the problem.
The Washington Post says banks have grown more sympathetic to stressed-out consumers and are now more lenient when it comes down to renegotiating interest rates and minimum payments. Banks aren’t out there advertising their willingness to bend, but they’re more willing to listen, the story says.
If you’re paying too much for cable these days, it really doesn’t hurt to call and ask for a discount. You never know, your cable company might surprise you. That’s what happened to reader Nitin.