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Cutting your bills in half: Negotiating can save you hundreds

Cutting your bills in half is a great way to make ends meet, and a service that will negotiate your bills for you could save you hundreds.

Renee Everett is a saver.

“Overpaying is a source of anxiety,” she said.

Everett grew up in a family of nine, so every dollar counted.

“My mom was probably the most frugal; she could make a dollar go farther than anyone I know and it just kind of stuck.”

Now, she does the same thing, because saving on bills means her hard-earned money can go toward things she enjoys, like her family and art.

Every few months, she uploads her internet, cell phone and cable bills to a bill negotiating service called BillCutterz and lets them make calls to providers on her behalf.

“Definitely tried to do it on my own and they are absolutely skilled at what they do,” Everett said.

So far, she estimates they’ve saved her a grand over two years.

Bill negotiating services usually get paid by splitting the savings. For BillCutterz, it’s 50/50. If they don’t save you money, they don’t get paid. Like services include BillFixers, Billshark, and Trim.

Kimberly Palmer with NerdWallet encourages potential customers to also ask services if there are any annual fees outside the split.

“Before handing over your personal information, you want to ask how they store it, who has access to it, and if they will delete it after they’re done using it,” Palmer suggested.

Secrets to negotiating bills

If you don’t want to try the service but are considering making a call to your providers, or have already tried and were unsuccessful, the founder of BillCutterz has some advice.

Barry Gross says rule number one is you need to talk to the right person. Instead of calling customer service, call to say you’re canceling. This move takes you to the retention department – the people with power.

Next, be kind. These people deal with angry customers all day, so a kind voice can go a long way. Use their name and ask what they can do for you to keep you from canceling, not if they can do anything. Then, stay silent.

“Quiet means money and if it takes a minute, two minutes, five minutes, I guarantee you that he who speaks first loses,” Gross said.

Don’t settle even if you’re successful.

“Even if they give me $50 or $100 a month off, which is a nice chunk of change, I’ll still ask for more; always ask for more.”

If you don’t get what you want, call again, because you’ll probably get someone different.

For more tips from Gross, click here.

Reporter:Allison Gormly
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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