Strategies for lowering your monthly service bundle bill

Consumers are used to getting money-saving bundles from television, cable and Internet providers. However, homeowners could save even more on their utilities and telecom services by negotiating with their provider. No customer is guaranteed a discount but some savvy consumer moves will put you in a good position to pay less every month. Likewise, negotiating with your provider is a great way to stop paying for services you don't want.

Use your charm
The initial challenge in negotiating a lower service bill is the task of getting the service representative on your team. Customer service representatives are used to being patronized or harassed by customers. You can put yourself in a position to succeed by using a friendly tone over the phone. Consumer Reports warns that threatening to leave a provider will only paint you into a negotiating corner. Consumers are better off appealing to a company's desire to foster customer loyalty.

Study the fine print
Make sure to look over your service agreement paperwork in detail. It's easier to get something out of a provider if the company has already promised you that service in writing. It's also important to understand what services are included in your deal that you may not have noticed when you signed up for the bundle. These unwanted services represent bargaining chips that you can offer to "give up" in exchange for a better monthly rate.

Manage discount dates
Reading the fine print is also important for catching important dates. For example, your service costs may have increased over time because your initial rate was actually a temporary promotion. Consumer who cancel temporary promotion rates before the expire have an opportunity to negotiate their rate before they end up paying the full-price.

Note that some companies may in turn offer promotional rates as a consolation during a price negotiation. MarketWatch recommends that consumers take advantage of these offers but also be diligent in renegotiating or canceling the service before the promotional period expires.

Leverage provider offerings
Keep track of promotional advertisements for your provider and rival services. You can use these advertisements as negotiating tools and ask providers if you can switch to a more current promotion. Alternatively, a competitor's ad can be used to encourage your provider to price match, says MarketWatch. These strategies aren't fool proof but your provider can't charge you extra for trying.

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