5 ways to get a better deal on your bills

Bills are an inevitable part of life. But while you can't stop them coming, there is one thing you can control: how much you choose to fork out.

We've asked two expert negotiators for their tips on wangling a discount.

1. Arm yourself

"The first thing obviously is to do your research and know what other providers are charging," says Steve Jovcevski, of comparison site Mozo.

He suggests calling your current provider and quoting the exact details of their competitor's offering.

"If you do your research you can always say, 'OK, that's what I'm getting somewhere else, can you match it?'"

2. Make it worth their while

Bundling several services – such as your family's mobile phones and landline – can give the provider an incentive to offer you a discount, says Jovcevski.

Likewise, having a handful of friends or relatives willing to sign might land you a better deal.

3. Be ready to walk

Preparing to switch companies is always a winning idea, but you need to prove you're serious.

Jovcevski says providers often save their best deals for difficult customers – in this case, you.

"For them to get a new customer costs them a lot more than to retain a customer," says Jovcevski.

4. Compare payment options

"Paying by the month is becoming more and more popular in utilities and insurances, but some providers will charge you as much as 30 per cent extra over the course of a year for the privilege," says Joel Gibson, campaign director at consumer network One Big Switch.

He says it may be difficult to pay a year up front, but it's usually well worth the savings.

5. Speak to the right person

A junior staff member may not have the authority to give you a big discount, so talk to the manager, or the retention team.

"A junior employee will often be relieved to pass you on to someone who can actually do something about your issue," says Gibson.


This article was originally published on the Sydney Morning Herald on 16 October 2015. This article represents the views of the author only and does not necessarily reflect the views of AMP.

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