I don’t let big companies run over me and neither should you. Here’s an example of negotiating for a print subscription to the Wall Street Journal. I want to fore mention that I really like reading the WSJ in the morning while I eat breakfast and it’s one of the few, simple activities that give me enjoyment. This is important in any negotiating process but in this scenario they don’t know how much I like it. I also have to be prepared to cancel the service if they do call my bluff.
I see a charge on my AMEX for 95 bucks (380 yearly) for the WSJ. Since this is an automatic renew, I wasn’t exactly sure what I was even paying for. I looked it up and it was a quarterly charge. I remember negotiating this situation last year and I looked up how much I paid for a yearly subscription previously and it was $290. I also armed myself with the information of what it would cost a new subscriber to join and that price was $256. I called the number on the statement and was put through to “the shell.” The shell is an employee who has no authority and can’t do anything but spit out the company’s standard rates. I explained to him that I wasn’t going to pay the $380 yearly and I wanted the new subscriber rate. He said there was nothing he could do. I threatened with cancelling the account. He obliged being the robot that he was. Considering this wasn’t what I wanted, I got him to transfer me to “the solutions department.” A very nice woman gets on the phone and explains to me that the rate I got previously was a special rate. Her voice was trembling as she was explaining this to me so I knew she didn’t want a confrontation. The next sentence I spoke is paramount to this entire post:
“You’re telling me that your company treats new customers better than loyal customers? Consider this ma’am, I could cancel my account today, re-register my account tomorrow to another address and I would be paying the new subscriber rate of $256.”
There’s no real good argument to that on her side and she offered me the $256 price. So this phone call only saved 124 bucks for the year but it’s the principal that’s important. Most things in life are negotiable and even these minor battles feel like a win for the little guy. Too many time people just bend over and take it and I’m saying that it’s important to make a stand.