Many companies will lower your rates, if you know how ask - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Many companies will lower your rates, if you know how ask

SPOKANE, Wash. - You've seen ads luring new cable customers a million times.

You might think they're aimed at new customers, but did you know you can try to get the same deal even if you're not a new customer?

Since some of those services might be considered discretionary, companies are more willing than ever to try and negotiate with consumers.

Angie Hicks, founder of the consumer web site Angie's List, says you should ask your cable, wireless and/or Internet provider if they'll offer you the introductory rate even if you're an existing customer.

She says your best bet "if you've been a longtime customer of the provider and you've been a good customer and you pay your bills on time" is to call "the retention department instead of just the straight customer service department."

Hicks suggests reviewing your bills first, to see how many cell phone minutes you actually use, and which cable channels you really watch.

Beware of bundling packages, which could end up costing you more depending on your usage.

Once you get an offer, Hicks says "ask about introductory rates. Ask about how it needs to be handled at renewal time. Is it only good for six months? What will my rate look like after that? And also, what kind of cancellation fee might there be if I decide to switch?"

Following these tips could save you $20 or more a month.

Of course, the company might say no.

All you have to do is ask.

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