You may remember that I wrote a post a couple months back about negotiating your bills down. The concept is simple, you call all of your monthly providers and get them to reduce their monthly rates to you. It’s really easy, and even if you’re the shy type it’s all over the phone (and sometimes online chat even) so you still maintain anonymity. I try to stay on top of my bills as much as possible, but there is only so much time in a day. I work a day job, and I blog by night, so my time is very valuable and very scarce. When I stumbled on BillCutterz a few months ago I thought this was something that I just had to give a try. This company is in the business to save you money, otherwise they don’t make any themselves. Allow me to explain.
First, BillCutterz didn’t solicit from me, they are unaware of my blog, and I am just a regular customer who found them on some other very popular finance sites and decided to give them a go. All you need to do is go on their website and submit all of the monthly bills you can think of. Some monthly bills like mortgages and state regulated utilities don’t fit within their criteria, but cellphone and cable and home security bills are right up their alley. Their promise to you is that they will save you money each month, and sometimes upfront, and in turn their fee is that they get to keep 50% of those savings for up to 1 year. After a year passes any additional savings that are incurred from their initial negotiations are yours to keep free and clear. I like a company that can put it’s money where it’s mouth is. They don’t get paid unless you save money…that’s all the motivation you need to get the job done! Or so I thought.
As I said before, I stay on top of my bills as time permits, but I had read that even the shrewdest of negotiators would be surprised by the additional savings that BillCutterz could net you. Some even raved about how they were given complimentary upgrades to faster internet speeds, or were provided free HBO for the year. All I had to do was simply print and scan my most recent monthly bill for each of the one’s that I wanted them to negotiate for me. I ended up sending over my cellphone, cable/internet, blog hosting, car insurance, homeowners insurance, and electric bills. Smooth sailing so far. This was quick and easy, and I even received an email from my “negotiator” the next day asking if I preferred phone or email communications. I responded with email, which is great for me since I’m on the computer all day! I wish all companies had this option. I received another email two days later with a list of questions about security questions on my account, whether or not I would sign a long term contract, and anything else I should let them know in order to help negotiations. I’m not exactly sure why they didn’t email that to begin with, or simply have that built into their template on the website, but no big deal…they asked and I answered. I also sent a subsequent email letting them that while I was a typical customer, I do own a fairly popular blog and planned on writing an article about my experience. I also asked them an additional question regarding what other types of bills I could submit…i.e. lease payments for my cars and such. Sadly I never heard back about my heads up regarding the blog article I would be writing, nor did I hear back about my questions regarding other bills I could submit.
Well a slight snub on those questions isn’t the worst thing in the world, after all if they can save me money they are good in my book!
So my first email was in regards to their dealings on my cable and internet bill. I was certain this is where I carry the most fat, since my cable provider is always pushing their stupid land line phone plans and have generally confusing cable plans to begin with. Much to my dismay, this was the email I received below:
I had no idea I was getting promotional discounts already! I would hate to think what their normal billing is like then. All of my friends that live in neighboring cities pay much less per month and receive a lot more in return. Customer service sucks at all cable companies, but they all pay less money for faster internet and more channels. I had heard that BillCutterz has the “in” at many of these companies because this is all they do all day. They have access to savings and pricing plans that they typical consumer wouldn’t know about…but it doesn’t seem so in this case.
Let’s just say that Verizon has been a thorn in my side for far too long. I was grandfathered into a really good plan, at least by todays standards, but that was only for as long as I didn’t subsidize the cost of a new phone. After 3 long years my phone died, and in order to get a new one at a reasonable price I had to renew my contract. This did away with my unlimited data access, and kept me at a strict 6GB that I could share with my wife….how ANNOYING! So now we use our wireless at home much more often, which still sux and crawls at a snails pace. Also, Verizon decided to do their due diligence this year on company discounts they were providing. Basically, they made everyone verify employment again in order to maintain their discount. Since I left that company long ago my discount was significantly reduced. I figured I had to have some savings here, or least a data upgrade of some sort…NOPE…see the response below:
So another one bites the dust here. I’ve been “assured by the rep” at every company I’ve ever talked to that I’m “getting the best rate possible”. The problem is that reps lie! I highly doubt I’m getting the best rate possible, but what can ya do?
So I run a few different websites, which means I have a pretty significant hosting package that costs me some moolah each month! Hosting isn’t cheap, especially when it’s for multiple websites. I have never negotiated this bill before, nor have I used and coupon codes, or researched pricing at all. While I didn’t think this bill would miraculously be cut in half, I figured there had to be some sort of savings here somewhere. So, how did BillCutterz do with this one? Please see below…
STRIKE 3!!! I’m not sure what they mean by “I will contact you when it’s the best time to try again”…if they said that paying monthly offers no discount, when is the better time to negotiate this?? I’m confused. I did notice their one piece of advice about paying yearly for my service and that would qualify me for a discount. I figured that would at least be worth something. I have no problems paying for hosting upfront for a year if it means I get a discount. So I immediately struck up a convo with their sales department at the hosting company. I asked what type of discount I could receive for paying a year, or even two years, in advance. They informed me that I was mistaken and no such discount exists for paying upfront for any period of time. So that just added to my waste of time.
I didn’t really expect them to be able to do anything with my insurance and electric bills, but I was mildly curious to see what they do with them. Thus far I have heard nothing on either of those bills. My electric is state regulated, so they can’t do anything about that, but I thought they would at least inform me of that. Insurance, well, we know what it’s like to deal with them. I expected no savings, but I did expect a response. Perhaps it will eventually come, but only time will tell. As I said before, I never did hear back about whether they can negotiate car leases, and what other types of bills I can submit.
Submitting your bills to BillCutterz is harmless, as they state in EVERY email, they don’t take a fee if they don’t save you money. But so far I am unimpressed. While harmless is fine, I prefer effective. It seems to me that you should take one shot at calling your providers yourself, take a quick 5 minute convo with them to gauge any savings you might be entitled to. I read a lot of information online that they have the “in” on special discounts, which I’m not buying that. My advice is to go ahead and submit your bills after you attempt a quick negotiation yourself…after all, what do you have to lose? An hour of your time by my calculations.