Thursday, August 28, 2008

Size Matters -- Especially in Saving Money

I’ve been going over my various bills, trying to figure out what a lot of the things are that I have – and that I pay for.

On my landline, I’ve been paying for last call return, call forwarding and a bunch of other things I rarely, if ever use.

So, in an attempt to trim the fat, I put on my best negotiating hat, and called the phone company.

You hear a lot these days from big companies about “bundles” – the combining of services to save money. Essentially, the more stuff you buy, the more you save.

It is a great marketing ploy, which captures all of your services from going to the competition.

I’ve been looking at increasing my Internet, while decreasing other services which I don’t use.

And yes, I deal with the big old phone company. Call me old fashioned, but I like to deal with those who actually run the equipment, have the lines in the ground and own the cell towers. Sure, I can go for one of the other telecom providers, but they don’t maintain the systems, so when things go wrong, I may not get as quick a fix as if I were with the company actually running the show.

I thought I’d spend hours haggling, negotiating, even begging for a good deal. Turns out, the customer service representatives I talked with were very helpful at getting me great deals.

I managed to keep most of the features on my landline – even some I rarely if ever use – yet I knocked off $15/month from my bill, by bundling it with their top speed Internet service. And I got a great deal on my Internet too – normally it goes for $89.99 month for their top speed, I’m getting it for almost half that price! I’m actually paying about $14/month less than what I was paying the cable company for a much slower service – all thanks to bundling products and features.

Most marketing ploys are just that – ploys, gimmicks, not worth anything really to the consumer. But bundling actually works – I’m saving money, and getting a better speed Internet.

I highly recommend calling the various companies you deal with for your communications utilities, and challenge them to give you a better deal – I bet they will take you up on the challenge.

There is so much competition in the marketplace for television, mobile phones, high-speed Internet, and other wireless communications devices, the ball is really in our hands.

I remember when the industry was just becoming deregulated, and competition was being discussed. There were those who said competition would be bad – all the big players would undercut everyone else so much, they’d effectively eliminate the competition by forcing them out of business.

Not so, competition has made the marketplace better for consumers, because we get to really negotiate good deals.

For years, the telecom companies have been sending out these chain letters to customers who switch from them to one of the other companies, offering great deals if you come back.

Bundling services and features has been around for a while, but I never gave it a second thought. I just figured it was a trick to get me to spend more.

Turns out I was wrong – I am getting more for less!

Chock one up for us little guys, instead of the big corporations.

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