It helps if you’re coming to the end of your mobile phone contract but there’s absolutely no harm in trying earlier.
Here’s what you do.
1) Do some Googling online. Find out some cheap mobile phone tariffs (it doesn’t matter who the companies are) from a range of different providers. Note down the prices and packages.
2) Call up your mobile network provider and ask to be put through to the cancellations department.
3) Utter these six magic words:
“I want to cancel my contract.”
The person on the end of the line should then usually become extremely friendly and personable. Funny that.
The first thing they’ll probably ask is “I’m so sorry to hear that, why do you want to leave us?”
Now at this point it pays to be firm but polite. You want to give the impression that you’ve come to a real decision to cancel your contract so that they take you seriously. At the same time you don’t want to shut off the conversation completely and block off any negotiation.
Keep it simple and say something along the lines of:
“I’ve seen a much much better deal elsewhere and I want to cancel my contract so that I can transfer my old number across”.
They’ll now probably try and convince you stay with nonsense about how many texts and minutes you’re getting. Ride it out and you’ll soon find that they’re able to offer you a special discount.
… and there’s more… because… hang on… they’ve just checked the system and you’re entitled to this bonus, that bonus and this special deal!
4) Keep pushing but know when to stop.
Don’t take the first deal they throw at you because they’ll have different layers of offers they can offer to departing clients.
Use phrases like:
“Well, that’s a better than the package I was on before, but it’s still not really convincing me to stay – what more can you do?”
5) Don’t be bullied into accepting any terms you’re not comfortable with.
For example they might try and offer you a better rate on the basis that you sign up to a much longer contract. Be wary of this. Unless it’s an incredible deal you’re usually best off sticking to a 12 or 18 month contract. It keeps you in control and gives you much more bartering power.
6) If you’re not happy with the deal don’t panic!
You’ve still got a get out. If you don’t feel like it’s going very well, or if you want to try again later with a different customer service rep, just tell them that you’ve decided you’d like to have a little more time to think about it.
The first time I tried this I slashed a £35 a month deal down to £17 a month. That’s a saving of £216 over the course of a year. After 30 minutes of haggling I also got the shiny new phone I wanted as well!
Well worth a go, you’ve nothing to lose.