Saturday, September 4, 2010

Go Ahead - Haggle!

 Wild flowers from the White Mountains of Arizona - picked in the meadow this morning. Happy Labor Day Weekend .

Time was when in polite society we did not haggle, bargain, make an offer.  No, that was for the souks and teaming bazaars of the mysterious far-flung continent. Then came swap meets, quickly followed by EBay - the home to the ultimate haggling. And I'm fast learning following my experience with Comcast last week that haggling is not reserved for the cyber world or dark alleys of Medina (no, not Minnesota!) .

Had occasion to question a charge on my bank statement from Sirius Radio. I'd forgotten a three month trial for $11.95 was up and the $44 plus charge took me by surprise. I called customer service to cancel - surprisingly polite and helpful. No problem in refunding the charge , and in 5-7 working days (check that against an overcharge from my utility company last year - no refund offered, just a credit that get this, would show up two months in the future!) I've absolutely no quarrel with Sirius Radio - just that since I spend limited time at the cabin in the winter months I'm not sure that $44 for 3 months is worth it. I expressed this to the rep. She countered with, "Well how about we give you 5 months for $22. Would that be acceptable." YES. What a pleasure.

Was talking about this experience with a friend last night who proffered the observation that it is worth asking for promotional rates with all the services we get. His point - it's cheaper for a company to keep an existing customer than to gain a new one. So I suggest that when you see those dynamo lure 'em in offers for heavily discounted services, either bank cards, internet, cell phone and so on, that you call, state your long term customer status, and ask to be given the same rate that a new customer is being offered. I've tried it several times in the past two years and not once have I been turned down.

And on the subject of internet rates - check this out. Your own Hot Spot - and cheap.

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