Yesterday, when I was checking the mail to see what type of junk the postman delivered, I noticed a letter from Sirius XM Radio. When I opened the letter, it was for my subscription renewal. I have the Sirius XM All Access Plan. The total that I owed was $273. That was for the base price of $239 and $34 for a music royalty fee.
Wait, I know what you are thinking. This guy has a blog about personal finance and financial Independence (FI), but he pays to listen to the radio in his car. Many people are trying to find ways to reduce expenses like cutting the cable cord at home to eliminate a monthly bill? Paying to listen to the radio in your car is just a waste of money when you can listen to the terrestrial radio for free.
Yes, those are all valid points. Before you judge me, please let me explain my situation. My job requires that I travel in my car often. I spend many hours in my car each week. My journeys take me to Northern New Jersey, rural Pennsylvania, and the Southern Tier of New York. Except for New Jersey, the traffic is not bad, but the driving is boring and the radio channels are terrible. Having Sirius XM makes my traveling much more enjoyable.
Even though having Sirius XM adds pleasure to my weekly trips, I was not willing to pay $273 for the yearly subscription. I knew that I did not spend that much the previous year, so I went and looked up my credit card statement from last summer. It was only $136 after taxes and fees.
As of late, I have been reading many articles on different finance blogs about trying to reduce monthly bills. Many authors simply suggest calling and asking for a price reduction. I decided to give that a try because I do not want to have to shell out $273 to listen to Sirius XM.
When I called, I spoke with a Customer Service Representative named Daniel. I told Daniel that I enjoy listening to Sirius XM. The new price, however, was too expensive. I asked if he could lower it.
Daniel informed me that Sirius XM had a new price structure. He first offered me the price that I paid last year but said that it did not come with the two Howard Stern channels or the NFL channel. That offer was unacceptable because I enjoy those channels.
His second offer was a price of $199 for my current plan. I told him that I like the programming that Sirius XM offers. It makes my drive to work more pleasurable. Never the less, it was just too expensive.
I asked him if I could have the same total price of $136 that I paid last year. Sirius-XM must get many calls from customers who want to lower their bill. They also seem to invest in some negotiation training. Daniel asked what I would do if I could not have that price. His response reminded me of the books Getting Past No and Getting to Yes by William Ury. He was searching for my (BANTA) or best alternative to a negotiated agreement. That is a theory made popular William Ury created as part of the Harvard Negotiation Project.
Getting Past NO, William Ury
Getting To Yes, William Ury
Even though I was impressed with his negotiation skills, I told him that I would not be able to afford the new price. It was too expensive. If I did not receive the price that I paid last year, I would have to cancel my subscription.
He was hesitant at first and said that my new price was almost half of what the new price was. After he thought about it for a few seconds, he agreed to the total price of $136 after taxes and fees. He did not want to lose me as a customer.
If this approach works with Sirius XM, what other bills can I call about and try to reduce? I am now motivated to find out. It was worth the little bit of effort to make the phone call. The worst they can say is that they cannot reduce the bill.
The customer truly has the power during these negotiations. The customer has the power to say no. The customer has the freedom to simply walk away and take their business elsewhere.
Do you have any experiences of calling a company to have a bill reduced?