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Don’t pay that! These are the fees and bills you can negotiate

HOUSTON – When was the last time you called your cable company to get your bill lowered? What about your alarm company or your electric bill? If you haven't tried it recently, pick up the phone. You can save hundreds of dollars a year with just a few calls.

“I think a lot of people have a stigma,” explained Kyle James, author of RatherBeShopping. “They are worried they are going to look cheap, or they are worried they are going to get turned down and look foolish.”

But here’s the thing, if you don’t ask, you won’t see any savings.

James says this should not be a cold call. You have to do a little comparison shopping before you call up your cable company.

He has five steps for calling the provider of any service to ask for a lower bill:

  1. Get quotes from competitors. You need this information to be able to tell the company that you can get the same service from another company at a lower rate.
  2. Know how long you have been with the company so you can tell them that. It helps if you always pay your bill on time.
  3. The person who answers the phone may not be able to help you. Ask to speak with the customer retention department.
  4. There are keywords and phrases you can use that will help you. When negotiating your cable bill, “cutting the cord” and “streaming” are things you should mention that you are considering to trim your expenses. Your cable company doesn’t want to lose you as a customer.
  5. If you get turned down from a representative one day, call back the next day or the next week and try again.

These are some of the easiest bills to get lowered with a phone call:

  • Home alarm bill
  • Cable
  • Cell phone bill
  • Satellite radio

Keep in mind, in some cases you may have to sign a new contract for a year or two to get a lower rate. Kyle has created this article that tells you exactly how to negotiate with Dish Network, DirecTV, AT&T, Verizon and Comcast.