Here in Canada we are ruled by only a few wireless service carriers.  Namely these fall into the “big three” otherwise known as:  Rogers (also bought out Fido Mobile), Bell (also in May 2009 bought out Virgin Mobile), and Telus (also carrier of Koodo Mobile)… UH… can you say MONOPOLY?? These guys have been fighting head to head with each other, to keep prices of contracts up.  I was paying $40-50 a month for my measly serviced cell phone bill back in 2004 (I was constantly over in talk time, thus getting dinged a 25 cents per minute) until I one day I called in to complain.  I think I fluked it by calling when my contract was up (unbeknowst to me at the time, it was when I was un-edumacated in personal finance  still).

I called back then and said I didn’t like how much I was paying.  The CSR (customer service rep) then told me that they can reduce my bill and increase what I was getting (e.g. minutes, texts, free long distance).  I was like “what??” why had I NOT done this earlier?? I could have saved so much cashola!  I had reduced my monthly bill (and was getting more bang for my buck) to $28 a month- never over.

Ever since then, I’ve been getting good deals on contracts for mr. youngandthrifty, my mom, my sisters, my friends…you could say that I’m addicted to the art of negotiation (on the phone– not so much in person cus I’m kinda shy).

First of all, you need to decide whether you want to be on a contract.  Currently WIND Mobile has come into play and they are straight up no contracts, so you’re not tied down.  They have very competitive rates (much to the Big Three’s dismay) without having to negotiate to get something you’re happy with.

If you’re down with signing up for a 1, 2, or 3 year contract then please continue reading.

Just recently I renegotiated with Rogers for my sisters.  Read this:  If they tell you it’s not possible.  It isn’t.  It can be done- somehow. They’re playing hard to get mind games with you.

Here’s what you do:

1) Make sure you know where you are “in your contract”. If you have 6 months left in your contract or even better, if you are contract FREE or approaching your contract-free date (you can usually find this information online in your account details or you can call in and ask).  Also, if you have many years of loyalty with that provider, then they will be able to offer you more stuff.

2) Make sure you have a pen and paper handy

3) Dial 611 on your cell phone and say you want to cancel to that automated lady who asked “what can I do for you?”

4) If they give you to a regular useless Customer Service Rep, hint that you want to speak to the Retention Dept (they’re the ones who have pull to give you the goods) by saying that you’re dissatisfied with your plan and want to cancel

5) Alternatively, you can dial the retention/ customer relations numbers directly

Telus (1-877-279-3100 open M-Sat I believe)

Bell (1-866-313-1086 M-F 8-7:30pm EST)

Fido (1-888-259-3436 open M-Sat)

Rogers (1-888-936-7283 8-9pm EST M-Sat)

6) Be very polite/ friendly to the person you’re speaking with, and note their name down.

7) Tell them that you’ve been a bit dissatisfied with the service and the price that you’re paying.  Say that you have been considering switching to another provider (e.g. if you’re with Rogers, mention Telus)

8) Tell them that you really want _____ (fill in with want you want: text messages that you’re currently paying an arm and a leg for, more day time minutes, voice mail)

9) They will likely say that if you add on $10 then you can get a “package” that includes something like that, or they may give you another promotion (e.g. $20 for 200 day time minutes, evening and weekends starting at 6pm) and hint that you should add on the other stuff by paying… don’t give in – say that you don’t want to be paying any extra than you are now.

10) If it’s not what you want, then bring out the big guns, and mention the other company’s plan and what they are offering you or mention that your sister is with the other wireless provider and she is getting a better plan for only X amount of dollars (these have to be real plans- not made up, okay!?)

11) Then the rep will offer you something better, if you like it but it’s still not the ideal plan you want, then ask them nicely to please note it down on your account, and that you will think about it.   Remember to ask them to repeat exactly what they are offering you, so you can write it down.

12) Call back a few days to weeks later (but not incessantly or else they will flag your account)

13) Repeat steps 1-11 until you find something you are happy with. (Note: you will have to commit for 2-3 years… it’s up to you whether you are a “contract person” or not.)

Hope that helps, folks.  My next post will be an example of how I negotiated a better cell phone contract for my sister with Rogers Wireless.

Have you tried calling to negotiate in the past too? Do you find yourself drawn to contracts or do you prefer to be a “free agent” like how Wind Mobile allows you to be?

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