Companies will sometimes offer astounding deals in an effort to acquire a new customer, because they know that once you’re a customer, the contract will keep you for a while and then inertia will often keep you for longer.
Because of that, shopping around for a new provider for your cell phone service (or your internet service or your television service) can often result in getting a very good deal.
The only catch is that sometimes the best deal out there for you is the “introductory” deal offered by the company that already has your business. You like your current provider quite a bit, but you’re not a new customer… and the other provider is offering a great deal for new customers.
Should you switch? I suggest taking an additional step before jumping ship.
If you find yourself in a position where you’re still using a particular service, but you happen to be a “free agent” because your contract has expired, you owe it to yourself to be shopping around for a better service. However, you should include the introductory deal for your current provider in your search.
All you have to do if you’ve settled on the introductory offer from your own provider is call the number on your phone bill and simply request that you receive the introductory deal if you sign a contract renewal. In other words, just ask to be treated as a new customer.
Many companies will do this in an effort to retain you as a customer, though you may have to request to speak to someone’s supervisor (as the first person may not have the power to apply the discount to your situation).
We’ve done this ourselves a few times. Most of the time, we’re pretty happy with the services we already have, and the only reason we’re tempted to switch is because of the strong bargains being offered by other providers.
A simple phone call can alleviate that temptation right away. In fact, I’ve never had any sort of problem doing this. Some providers allow the first person you contact to make the change, which has been my experience.
If you have a provider that doesn’t allow this, then I’d consider that a sign of poor customer service.
When you’re shopping around for potential offers for a service you like to use, include the provider you’re already using. You might find that the best bargain is the one you already have.
This post is part of a yearlong series called “365 Ways to Live Cheap (Revisited),” in which I’m revisiting the entries from my book “365 Ways to Live Cheap,” which is available at Amazon and at bookstores everywhere.