3 hours 27 minutes and 18 seconds is the longest call I ever had in my life and 90% of it was me waiting on hold for the customer service representative. This call was to US Airways many years ago before the merger with American Airlines. If I remember correctly, my flight was cancelled and I needed to get another flight booked to get back home. Nobody should have to wait for over 3 hours on the phone to talk to someone, but I had no choice. I simply wanted to get back home. You may be asking yourself how this relates to fighting increasing bills. I promise you there is a relationship between this horribly exhausting call and battling bill increases.
As mentioned in my previous post Budget by indicators, you need to track your monthly expenses. Assuming your monthly expenses (i.e., gas, electric, phone) do not rapidly fluctuate, you should be able to confirm if your bills are accurate. For example, if in 2016 you are paying $120 per month for your phone bill and in 2017 you notice your bill is coming up $130, you will know to take a closer look into your bill. You need to identify where the extra charge is coming from and determine if it is justified. It is important to act as quickly as possible once you see a bill increase significantly.
Service provider company’s like South Jersey Gas, Atlantic City Electric, Comcast, and others are looking to increase your bill every chance they get. They may start adding miscellaneous fees and these fees might only be $1 or $2 per month. Most people will not call and inquire, but it is important you do. A few extra dollars per month does add up. If each of your service provides increases your bill $2 per month and you have five service provides (i.e., gas, electric, cable, phone, security system), you are going to pay an extra $120 per year. They may each increase your bill again the next year and to most people it seems relatively reasonable. A $2 increase per month for each of the five service provides in two years increases your yearly bills $240, just in two years. They are not only doing this to you, but also millions of other people and gaining enormous amounts of money from people who are not complaining. They are charging you more for the same services they have already provided you with.
Several times a year I am on the phone with my service provides because they often try increasing my bills. For example, I will call Comcast routinely to make sure I am getting the best deal possible. If there are specials out there they are not usually going to call you and tell you. A little research before the call is required. The same goes for your phone, electric, and gas company.
Think about having an extra $120 per year not going to your service providers. This is extra money for you and your family. This could be extra money to invest. It is better to use the money yourself instead of letting it go to bills. So how does the 3+ hour phone call relate to all of this? I had no choice, but to make the phone call to US Airways and stay on the phone for 3+ hours because I wanted to get a flight home. What if you were required to make a phone call now and then to your service providers to push on them and try and get some savings? Think of it as a must for you to succeed your goals. It will definitely not help you to give away more money than you have to. I try to make it a point to call and make sure I am getting the best deal possible.
We are hard working people and by giving up extra money for the same service, just does not make any sense to me. It is actually quite silly, but due to laziness we may not feel the need to call. It almost seems as if it is more convenient not to call and that is what the big companies want you to do. They do not make it easy to get through, but if you are patient you will get through. It also does not pay to yell at the customer service people. They will be less likely to help you out. It also helps them not feel as bad when they are ‘screwing you’. Make it harder for them by ‘killing them with kindness’. Thoroughly explain your situation and act as if you have all day to talk to them. They will not want to talk with you long and may even want to help you.
If the customer service people do not want to help you, then you can hang up and call back again. You might get lucky and get someone more helpful. It is important to make sure you get their names and ID numbers if they have one. If you call multiple times and still have no luck, you may want to search around for another service provider if one exists. It is more difficult with gas and electric because there are a limited number of service providers available.