I am sure we have all seen the many commercials for Vonage, right? Or, did you ever get the pop up ads for Sunrocket last year? How about Packet 8, Lingo, etc, etc?Well, they are all promoting a new service for your home telephone service, and it is called VOIP. Or, the long version is Voice over Internet Protocol. I have placed a few of their links above for you to compare. Either way, it has really increased competition for the local phone service providers.
For example, when I moved into my home, my local phone service provider was the ONLY choice I had. I didn't even have competition between other phone service providers. It really limited my ability to find a decent deal on phone service. Seriously, what incentive did the phone company have to give me a deal? They didn't need to, because I either had to choose them or I went without a phone.
But, times, they are a changing! Not only have cell phones become more and more common as household phones, but we now have VOIP. Now, you may think this article is going to be promoting VOIP or cell phone use. And, well, it is not. I know people who use VOIP and I know those that only use cell phones, and they are all happy, too. I, myself, still use the good old local phone company, and love my service.
Instead, I am writing this to let you know you can negotiate your price. Well, in a round about way, you can. My local phone company was charging me for local service, extra to have unlimited long distance ( I have to be able to call my mom every day, and she is out of town ), and still more for my high speed DSL service. I did get their advertised discounted rate for bundling, which I believe a lot of phone companies do now. Either way, I was spending approximately $80+ a month by the time you included taxes and all the crazy fees.
Then, I saw an ad for Vonage. It was claiming I could have unlimited long distance, all the features, etc for $20+ a month. Great! What a savings. Except, I have to have broadband high speed internet. OK. I had DSL, so I called my cable company to get a price on their internet service. It was $40+ a month. Well, I added the two together, and that brought me to only $60+ a month for the same features for my home phone. I was indeed interested. I would be saving $20 a month.
As luck would have it, that same week I was debating switching, I received a mailer promoting my local phone company stating that new customers could received local phone, unlimited long distance, all the features and DSL for $40 a month for a year. WOW!!! I was shocked. This was half of what I was paying a month. Half! $480 a year!!!!! Big difference. So, I called. I figured, hey, I have been a loyal customer, I am entitled to this deal, too. Well, I came to find out, in fact, no I was not. As the ad said, only new customers. I hung up VERY disgruntled and annoyed. I was DEFINITELY switching now!
Then, it crossed my mind. What if I called and threatened to switch? Would they give me the deal then? So, I picked up the phone and called again. I was VERY polite. I always am when talking to the customer service at companies. These people on the other end of the phone are the people that can really help you. But, they are not going to want to if you are being a jerk to them. And, believe me, if they don't cave and help you...call again the next day. You will get someone new, and they may be able to assist.
Anyway, so I called back and stated I want to know what I needed to do to shut down my service. The lady immediately asked why I wanted to shut down. I, of course, claimed I was going to move to a VOIP. She went into this long, prewritten and practiced claim about the problems with VOIP, how many people switch back, etc, etc. I stuck to my guns and said I still wanted to switch, that at this point, I just wanted to save some money and give them a try. "But, thank you for the information", I said. Polite, polite, polite!
Then, guess what????? She said, "Well, how about if we give you our introductory offer of $40+ a month for local phone, unlimited long distance with all the features and DSL for a year?" Ah ha!!! So, it is possible to get the intro offers when you are a long time customer? I thought so!
Needless to say, I am not promoting VOIP over local phones or vice versa. What I am saying to everyone is....you can have your bill lowered and not lose any service. Even if I hadn't gotten that mailer with the intro rates, I am almost positive that the phone company would have come up with a price to at least match or be even lower than what VOIP was offering. They do not want to lose their customers. And, if you really don't want to switch and are afraid they will shut it down when you call and not offer you something better, don't be! When I called, I just pretended I needed information on what I needed to do when I switched. Or, just have a handy phrase ready at the end, in case you need to abort. My favorite is, " Actually, hold off on cancelling. I will call back tomorrow. I think I better check with my husband first to make sure he wants to switch. "
And, don't just use this on your local phone company. If you have VOIP, and you find a better deal with another provider, try it on them, too. You never, know, they might match the lower price. The worst that could happen is they would say no. The best that could happen? You could save $480, like I did this year! And, if all else does fail...then switch!!! If it saves you money, and you get similar service, it only makes sense! Customer loyalty is not worth losing your hard earned money over