Over the last week, my cell phone has slowly been dying. The screen goes black randomly and it ceases to accept button input until I remove the battery and re-insert it. This phenomenon has happened with more and more frequency as of late, reaching the point where it’s killed phone calls in the middle of the call. It was time to get a new cell phone.
I looked at my options. My wife and I have been using the same cell phone provider for the last four years and have been very happy with them. We had heard rumors that their service in the area of our new home was bad, but the service has actually been even better since we moved – I haven’t seen anything less than four bars at home or in any place that I go to regularly. Thus, my wife and I wanted to stick with the same service provider.
I went to the cell phone store today with my tactics for buying a new cell phone in mind. I wanted to make a change to my service plan (upgrade my text messages and my minutes because I’ve gone over the top on both of these recently) get a new phone. I had decided that I wanted a RAZR because of the feature set that it had and the size of the phone itself, but I did not want to walk out of the store paying more than $100 for the phone, a car charger for the phone, and any other fees.
Here’s exactly what I did.
I walked into the store, briefly surveyed the people working there, and grabbed the one who was not involved with anyone at the moment. I told her that I was potentially interested in a new service plan (my old one had expired and I was just paying by the month) and specifically what I wanted with the plan. I also told her I wanted new equipment and walked away to look at it to let her think about it for a bit.
I knew better than to negotiate the service plan because it’s usually set by national carriers, but I knew that basically anything in the store was negotiable, especially fees. I also knew that I’d be able to get several things from this person, whose eyes were already calculating their sweet commission on the sale.
I went for a RAZR, just as I wanted. I asked for details on all available rebates and the person actually filled out the rebate form for me to get $30 back – literally, I’ll go home and drop the information in an envelope and send it.
There were also two different fees that the person attempted to ding me with. I directly asked for each fee to be waived and, although the lady helping me seemed a bit startled at the request, she said “Sure” and waived them without hesitation.
I also asked if there were any discounts on accessories for the phone and ended up with a 50% discount on the car charger.
The end result? I got my plan changed, a Motorola RAZR, and a car charger for less than $70 after I drop the rebate (already filled out) in the mail. Easy as pie.
Three real keys if you are getting a new cell phone: ask for all possible rebates, ask for fees to be waived, and ask for discounts or coupons on accessories. Remember, you’re the person in the store spending money – don’t feel bad about asking for such things.