Bill Fixers: Let Someone Else Haggle Your Cable and Phone Bills For You

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Successful haggle update, April 2016. Shortly after the NY Times profile of Bill Fixers came out, I submitted a request for them to help me lower my Time Warner cable bill. I had haggled with Time Warner in the recent past, but was currently back on regular pricing, so I figured I’d give them a shot. It took them about two months to get around to my request due to the flood of interest they got after the NYT article, but here were my real-world results:

  • $263.52 reduction of bills over the next 12 months, verified.
  • They gave me a 20% discount on their fee (half of first year savings) due to the delay, so I owed them $105.41.
  • One of the discounts they haggled for me ran for 24 months, which added up to another $83.26 in savings on which I owed no fee since they only charge for the first 12 months.
  • My total net savings: $241.37

The only work I did was to scan and upload a copy of my cable bill, and provide a personal security question and answer (not sure if it was right, or if they had to use it). I understand that some people may not feel comfortable with this, but I did not have to supply my bank account number, credit card information, Social Security number, or birthdate for this situation.


Original post:

I’ve written about haggling your cable or satellite TV bill for years, with hundreds of comments sharing both success and failures. I’ve certainly negotiated with a healthy share of customer service reps myself. But I don’t like doing it. I do it because unlike say the electrical company, who tells me “you pay based on how much power you use”, the cable company tells me “if you bother us, we’ll give you a discount, but if you are nice and quiet, you’ll pay double”. Big Data is tracking whether you compare prices or not, so it is in my best interest to announce that YES I COMPARE PRICES!

But what if you could just pay someone else to haggle for you? Deal with the long hold times, the “accidental” hang-ups, and the multiple transfers between supervisors? Enter brothers Julian and Ben Kurland of BillFixers.com, who will do just that. I came across them in this Businessweek article:

Despite all the various life-hacking sites that will teach you how to reduce your cable bill, a recent Consumer Reports survey found that fewer than half of people who attempted to do so were effective. Services such as BillCutterz have been offering some relief, but the Kurlands say their success rate—94 percent—is higher. It usually works out because they’re annoyingly persistent. Calls can last several hours as the brothers are passed among operators, managers, and various departments. The Kurlands often call companies multiple times, looking for different representatives who will cut a deal. “You’ll talk to three people who won’t offer anything, and the fourth one will magically have a discount that no one mentioned,” Ben says.

Which companies will they negotiate with? According to their website, they’ll take a shot at any recurring monthly bill you have. They don’t do things like credit cards and medical bills.

  • Television (Cable, Satellite, IP TV)
  • Internet (Cable, DSL, Other)
  • Landline
  • Cellular (AT&T cellular bills are one of the “easiest”. T-Mobile is one of the hardest.)
  • Satellite Radio

How much does BillFixers cost? They work on a contingency basis. If they don’t save you money, you pay nothing. If they do, they charge you 50% of the first year’s savings. You can pay via lump sum or in monthly payments (which in theory would match up with your monthly savings). Some stats from USA Today:

– Of the 650 clients, 94% receive savings
– The average reduction in bills is greater than $300 per customer
– About $155,000 has been saved for customers since 2014

I don’t doubt that someone with the right skills and motivation can be a good hired negotiator. I suppose the only concern would be giving out personal information like Social Security Number. However, if you give them the right information like account numbers, they shouldn’t need that kind of sensitive information.

If you’ve been thinking about haggling but have been putting it off due to either dislike or procrastination, why not give them a shot?

I’m going to add BillFixers to the growing list of services that will help find you money for free (but if they find it, they may take a cut).

  • CoPatient: Negotiate your medical bills. They take a cut of any successful savings.
  • AutoSlash: Helps you track price drops on rental cards. They make money when you rebook at a lower price with them.
  • Paribus: Helps you automatically request price adjustments on all your online retail purchases. They take a cut of the price drop savings.
  • AirHelp, Refund.Me, AirTaxBack: Get fees refunded for certain cancelled or missed flights to/from Europe. They take a cut of the refund.


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Comments

  1. Very cool idea for a service. I share your concern about giving over my personal information, especially my SSN.

  2. Its an interesting idea. I guess its better than not doing anything for sure. But if they’re saving people $300 on average then it seems you’re paying $150 to have them make a couple phone calls. I think its worth peoples time to take a couple hours to do that once a year. But again, of course if you just never do it then having the service do it for you is better than nothing.

  3. I now have two bills to now monitor. Silly. Riddled with security issues galore.

  4. I’m guessing they can only support a few full time ‘negotiators’ right now. What happens when the Comcast reps start recognizing those same people calling over and over for different customers?

  5. They saved me some and i needed to pay half. Need to monitor closely

  6. Jimmy Benson says:

    Thanks for the great review! I ended up sending them my bills for Directv, Comcast, and Charter. I figured let them deal with the overseas call centers and customer service folks reading from a playbook.

    Man did they do a great job! I already had pretty low costs for my services, but they were able to save me over $600!! No joke! I will happily give them half just to not have to waste my precious time on the phone with some of these companies. I have called many times in the past to try and negotiate my bills down. Talk to the Philippines or India only to have to be transferred to the US because they couldn’t do anything for me. Then haggling with the retention department to try and save $10 only to be on the phone for 45 minutes.
    This service worked for me. I didn’t need to disclose my SS# or any security details in the process. Just sent them PDF copies of the bills I was looking to reduce. Ben and Julian did a great job! I would definitely recommend them for folks like me who have done some haggling on their own, but would like to see other folks take a crack at it.

  7. What about FairFly for flights?

  8. I sent my ATT U-Verse bill in but about a while ago and have not a peep back from these guys.

  9. wow nice savings for you! sounds like it was worth it!

  10. Giving away personal information to save a couple of hundred bucks is definitely not on my list of things to do.

  11. Interesting read…
    https://www.reddit.com/r/Entrepreneur/comments/3sjjlr/comcast_sucks_billfixers_brothers_update_3_or_how/

    The information they need is not that unreasonable. What are they going to do with your information that major companies haven’t already distributed to others? As long as they don’t require social security numbers I can be persuaded to use their services.

  12. ray mar says:

    Hello Jonathan,

    Good article, I’ve cut most costs myself but there is one that teally hard to crack.
    That’s the car insurance bill.
    I recently had a minor accident (my fault) and my premium went from $680 (every 6 months) to over $1050!
    It would be nice to find some outfit like the one you mention in today’s article to do the legwork finding saavings on this area.
    Thought maybe you have one in mend?

    Regards

  13. Thanks for writing the article here. The two of us have kicked the idea around as a side hustle. We love negotiating prices and beating down some of these over priced service providers. Why not use our passion to benefit others and help save. I must say, a 94% success rate is much higher than I was anticipating. Good for them and their abilities!

    Bert, One of the Dividend Diplomats

  14. Frank O'Sullivan says:

    Hi Johnathan,
    If I hadn’t hear about bill fixers from you I would have thought it was a scam!
    I live in a city with Verizon – Comcast and DirecTV along with other products.
    My Comcast bill is over $190!
    I got an email from bill fixers saying they got $5 off my bill!
    That is $60 for the year but I owe bill fixers $30, unlike you no discount on the $30!
    I have no contract and Verizon is offering me $300 to switch to them!
    If I switch do I still have to pay the $30?
    They did offer me $10 off my bill if I “like” them on Facebook but I don’t think I can do that!
    Can you get my thoughts about a scam?

  15. I would very strongly caution anyone thinking about using this service.

    Their signup process is deceptively simple. You upload a copy of your bill and that’s it. Great! And that’s where it starts to go downhill.

    I didn’t hear from them for about a month. After a month, they sent an email saying they’ve negotiated a one-time savings for $11 so I would be invoiced for $5.50. Ok, fair. However, I wanted to see the actual savings on my bill before I paid the invoice – and I let them know as such. A few months later, I’m still not seeing the credit on any of my TWC / Spectrum bills.

    I forwarded another bill on to BillFixers so they can see that they’ve done nothing. However, looking at the bill, they’re now claiming their negotiated $11 is actually a one-time $14 credit that I’m seeing on my bill – which may or may not be the result of their calls to TWC. I point out the discrepancy and they claim that they never really know how much they’re saving me because of taxes, fees, etc…

    This is where it gets worse. So it’s been several months since I originally uploaded my bill to BillFixers. In the interim, I’m traveling for work and am out of town for some time so decided to cancel my TV service. I still have internet so I can keep tabs via Nest Cams, etc. They want to clear up this $11 vs $14 with Spectrum (why? I have no idea) and call Spectrum again. They find out that my bill is now lower because I canceled TV service and they of course send me an invoice for half of my “savings.”

    That’s right. I canceled my TV service and BillFixers wants to take credit (and their 50% share) of my savings!!! Apparently uploading a bill several months ago gives them clearance to call on your behalf for however long as they want and claim credit for any price reductions.

    I’m now working with BillFixers to try to correct this. They’re now asking for proof that I canceled my TV service myself to not charge me hundreds of $$$s.

    These guys are honestly much much worse than dealing with Spectrum / TWC / Comcast / anyone.

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