Want a Quick Discount? Threaten to Cancel From These Businesses

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Portrait of a customer service representative smiling with her colleagues in the background
Alamy
The other day, I called up ESPN to tell the company that we were breaking up.

A month prior, I had signed up for a free trial month of ESPN Insider, a subscription service that provides premium analysis and fantasy sports advice. I made an account prior to my fantasy football draft to get an extra edge, and set a calendar reminder to cancel the service before it rolled over into a paid membership.

That day had come, and while I'd enjoyed my free month, I decided it wasn't worth paying $40 a year. After poking around the website for information on how to cancel, I found that I'd need to call the company's dedicated customer service number.

A customer service representative picked up after just one ring, and after inquiring why I'd decided to cancel, he quickly offered me a 50 percent discount to stick around. I hadn't negotiated or haggled for a lower rate, I didn't ask to be escalated to a manager, and I didn't even give an indication that I would stick around for a lower rate. All I needed to do was call up and say I wanted to cancel, and within 60 seconds I was offered a 50 percent-off deal.

While it was a compelling offer, I ultimately decided to decline. But it's a good reminder that if you want to save on any sort of subscription service, just call up and say you want to cancel your account. Whether you're a full subscriber or someone on a free trial, the cost of customer acquisition tends to far exceed the cost of customer retention, and that means that companies will bend over backwards to keep you in the fold.

"It is better to call with an actual reason for canceling and not just call and say 'lower my bill or I go,'" says Max Levitte, co-founder and CEO of frugal shopping site Cheapism.com. "Another option is to actually cancel, and then they start sending you offers to come back for much less."

There are numerous companies and industries where this tactic is effective. Here are five of them:



Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at Matt.Brownell@teamaol.com, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.

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pemello

last post and then bed for me but i thought some of you who are bored with this might get a laugh. a few months ago my grandson who is 9 was here and i told him i needed some help taking out trash, he said ok, he is a sweetheart!!. he took 2 bags of trash out for me and i handed him 2 dollars, he looked at it and asked what it was for, i replied for helping me do some work, he handed it back and said if it was a paying job i owed him 10 dollars, i said no way it took less than 5 minutes, he said time did not apply in this job, he did the work, dropped nothing and he charged 5 dollars for each job he does,, he said he took 2 bags of trash out at 5 each, i owed him 10. i said no way, i was not paying 10 and handed him back the 2, he said no way was he taking 2, his labor rate was 5 each job and i owed 10, no discounts for family. by this time i was about to die laughing, he was completely serious, calm and business like he wanted his going rate for the work he had done. as he gave me back the 2 dollars once again and i was against the wall cracking up, i said, well ok, he had already done trhe work i was willing to pay 2 but not 10 so he better take the 2 or get nothing. he said fine i will take nothing. ok by now i am ready to wet my pants he sits down on the stairs and looks at me laughing, he says he does not see what was so funny about it. i tried to once again explain he had already done the work, there was no undoing the work so he sould take the 2 and be happy. he , very seriously said he charges 5 dollars a job and was not lowering his rates, i said ok, then i guess you did it for free. he paused a moment then looked at me and said lasugh now grammy but the next time you want me to do a job you have to pay first or i am not doing it. pay 5 dollars for each thing upfront, no credit extended or charges until later. then he said oh and remember how i told you i was going to be a doctor and fix up any wrinkles and moldy spots you have for free? i said yes and i loved him for offering to fix my wrinkles but i did not think i looked mouldy, how did he come up with that? he said, mom says you are old and mouldy and soon will be like old cheese that needs to be thrown out, but he explained he did not think so and did not mean to offend me he was just telling me what his mom said, he then said you do have a couple little wrinkles but you are still so beautiful but by the time i am a doctor you will have more wrinkles and now since i did not pay him his 10, i had to pay upfront before he fixed any wrinkles. the moral of this story? kids are too darn smart these days, but oh so very, very funny, but moms and dads start saving your money because your kids are not going to give you free services when they are grown...little rat!!! and mouldy,?????????????? next time we play cell phone store and i charge him hundreds of
dollars for equiptment , services, taxes, etc.I AM NOT THROWING IN THE BAG FOR FREE ANYMORE!!!

December 12 2013 at 1:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
pemello

i shop as a sport and save, these days if you are nice about it and smile or say hello to store manager or tell them about great service you received, they want to reward you with deals, discounts and freebies. believe me when i love a store, employee or service, i brag about it and my bragging sends them business, i am much cheeper than an advertising agency. btw, if you have teenagers the hottest gift to give this year is a GO PRO camera, amazing..and no they have not given me anything nor have i asked but i have to tell you GO PRO is amazing!!!!!!!! at 5 times the price it would be worth it. iF my grown children were not so nasty and rude to their mother Santa would be bringing them both one this year but they are now on the NAUGHTY LIST for at least a couple of years.BOTH ARE GETTING PAJAMAS AND SOCKS, ONLY., mom got her waterproof camera and is spending their christmas money tanning on the beach in april, and maybe may. no phone calls accepted.

December 12 2013 at 12:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
pemello

i have also learned you can call and get freebies, movie coupons, blow up blimp for my grandson stress ball, logo items, beer coozies, i cannot believe how many companies give these worthless things out. aflak ducks, key chain zip drive, letter openers, memo pads, calendars,store coupons,prices cut off telephone or catalog orders. not naming companies here but a few weeks ago i needed a quick dress for a wedding, found a perfect one, ordered and paid an extra 20.00 for 2 day shipping, so since paying for fast shipping anyway added christmas gifts to the order and was told the one fee would cover all.so 1100.00 later my shopping was done, 2 days later my 2 large packages arrived, the dress was too big, way too big, i called to see if i had time to get a smaller one, was told no but to ship back and given a code to put on return.as speaking to rep i pulled up wensite and saw a 10 % off everything until nov 31, so i asked rep.why i was not given that and was told i had to ask, well then i started looking at the bill and was charged 140.00 total for shipping, i told rep i was sending everything back and cancelling my account, was immediately offered the shipping and 10% off entire order refund, so got 260.00 credit, dress going back too. then i was on another website and saw a camera exactly like the one i had ordered for 599.99 for 269.00 i was so mad and called back after arguing for almost an hour got 30% off camera but still too high so then asked for 25% off a down coat. total discounts applied another 230.00 so saved 340.00 by calling twice that day, returned dress and 2 other items that did not fit, so another 299.00 credit, got alot of my shopping done but ended up saving over 50% on order by calling and dress return, other items were only about 60.00 that i returned. so i am ok with the dell i finally got, they also raised my credit limit another 2500.00 however, after seeing what they did i will pay off account and never order from them again. i did find out this was all done, credits given, discounts applied by a call center, not even the company. i later learned that if i had asked for more i most likely would have gotten it. call centers are graded by the number of orders and returns, they are authorized to give anything rather then get an order returned. i always ask for freebie or combo deal and get it 95% of the time, even at mall and big box store. the words PRICE MATCH are golden words to use even if you do not have the add. pull out your cell phone. no one wants to loose business to the store down the street. best deals to be found are with a kohls credit card. i always walk out with 700-800 of merchandise, then get 30% discount, 10.00 kohls cash for every 50.00 then senior discount, cause i am just over 50 and i only shop when entire store is already 50-60% off. incredible deals, much less than i would pay at big box for quality merchandise and you can return even a year later, no questions or reciept needed. i love kohls!!!!

December 12 2013 at 12:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
pemello

i got the same 500.00 bill for sirius xm and called to cancel now charged 25.00 for 6 months however if i do not call back every 6 months regular rates go into effect and my credit card is charged. i put maybe 50 miles a week on my car, not worth the money but nice for 50.00 a year for the one long trip i take every 2-3 months.

December 12 2013 at 12:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
IN MY OPINION ONLY

You get what you pay. Creepy cheap buyers get less than good items. Those who don't beg for best offers get the best item also best services.

October 05 2013 at 11:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
RMS

Tried that tactic with Macys and it didn't work. They lowered my credit limit because I don't carry a balance and pay the account in full. Now I am afraid that if I cancel the account that it will have a negative impact on my credit report. Only thing I can say is that I won't be shopping at Macys anymore.

October 01 2013 at 10:49 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Hi RON

Tried it and they hung up on me and cut me off .....now I am lost and lonesome...

October 01 2013 at 6:21 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Hi RON's comment
pemello

i will take you shopping with me.........call them back, do not let them get away with that rudeness. cable is bad for that and macy\'s too, but soon, very, very soon cable tv will be history.............they will suck every drop of blood from you, let you wait all day on the repairman, then an hour after he leaves, technical problems pop up again. i fought them for a year. i am going to wear a costume and party in their parking lt the day i can return all their digital boxes, i think about a year. too bad my daughter works there and makes huge money and they laugh at their customers, she better get another job lined up. apple, google and others are taking your business and repairmen away!!!

December 12 2013 at 12:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
artieeye

Sirius XM same

October 01 2013 at 3:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rzr200

site sucks how do I get to the other six ????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

October 01 2013 at 1:34 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rzr200's comment
Linda

Click on the full screen option. Then click the picture and it flips to the next one.

October 01 2013 at 3:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Allan

Sirius 3 years for 500=13.89 per month

October 01 2013 at 11:33 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply