In general I try to make things as simple as possible. If I am purchasing something, I want the transaction to go as smoothly and quickly as possible. That way both myself and the other party gets the best value. However, there are times when being politely difficult is the only way to get a fair price. I find this particularly true for utilities and any company that you need to call to get customer service (phone, internet, online banking, cable and satellite, gas and electric, water, etc.). Below are a few tips I use to not get cheated or have to pay any additional fees.

  1. Choose a time when you have lots of time- If you have time you will be less likely to get fed up and take the bad deal.
  2. Make them call you back- you don’t want to pay for the phone call
  3. Ask them to explain everything they tell you- If you still don’t understand ask them to explain again
  4. Be polite, but difficult- If you are a good customer, tell them so. Ask them why they are treating you unfairly (if they are doing so).
  5. Ask for a higher authority- This saves you being on hold and you are more likely to get a better outcome. The higher the authority the more the more the time costs them.
  6. Be willing to make suggestions and compromise- Being difficult is the means to get an outcome. Don’t forget what you are aiming for. If they offer you a good deal or something different (but equal and fair) consider taking it.