Just Ask

If you’ll recall, we had renewed our Sprint contract and got a 23% employee discount, which replaced the 10% discount we’d negotiated just by asking.

I always make DH open up the Sprint bill because whenever I open it they’ve always made some mistake that costs us time or money.  This time DH opening it didn’t help.  They’d charged us for the new phones (which suck, btw) that are supposed to be rebated (still waiting on that rebate…).  They charged the regular cost with the 23% discount applied (yay).  And they charged a $40 activation fee.

Of course, that had me livid as when I approved the whole getting new phones we didn’t need (that, as I mentioned, turned out to suck), I hadn’t approved any $40 one time charge.  DH, who is a sweetheart, was sure he’d made some kind of mistake and tried to figure out what he’d done wrong by looking through all the forms we’d filled out and stuff.

Because we’d renewed online, we weren’t supposed to get any kind of activation fee.  It said so.  Somewhere in the fine print on one of the free phone with renewal and rebate things we’d  signed, it did mention activation fees might apply, contradicting the much larger print that said no fee if you renewed on the internets.

Oh, I said, it’s one of those things where they messed up and they’ll get rid of it if you complain.  DH said he doubted that, but since the new phones suck he would see about sending them back and getting the $40 charge waived.  I said just ask for them to take off that $40 charge.

He called.  They took off the $40 charge.  It took about a minute on hold and a minute talking to the customer service representative and a minute saying no thank you we didn’t want them to sell us anything else.

The moral:  Just ask.

I’ve just asked for credit card mistakes, even when the fault is with the USPS (a problem in one apartment in one neighborhood in one part of the country we lived where mail service was spotty at best).  I’ve just asked for medical billing mistakes (BC/BS in that same part of the country… come to think of it most of our customer service problems were a that part of the country thing).  I’ve just asked with internet providers and cable companies and so on.  Generally just asking just fixes things.  Sometimes it takes multiple askings and a firm sense of being in the right, but often things just get fixed with one quick phone call or email.

We get a lot of slack from companies.  Of course, we also pay our bills on time and have great credit scores.  But what better reason to keep on the straight and narrow than it making your life easier?

What have you just asked for?

25 Responses to “Just Ask”

  1. 101 Centavos Says:

    All of the above. You don’t get if you don’t ask. And sometimes, not just asking, but actively challenging. “Why?” Why am I being charged this fee and that fee? Can’t you do do any better?

  2. First Gen American Says:

    You know what’s weird about all of this. Is that companies always seem to make billing errors in their favor. I can’t think of a single example of where there was an error made in my favor. I can think of at least 10 instances of where I was overcharged for something, but not one where I was undercharged (most especially medical bills…every single one seems to have an error on it).

  3. bogart Says:


    (Only) in situations where I’ve had real problems, e.g., a hospital that didn’t reply to queries about why we were getting two separate sets of bills for surgery that DH had undergone (there turned out to be a simple reason: two different accounts, one for pre- and one for postadmission services) I’ve gotten phenomenally quick and helpful service by (a) documenting everything to a tedious level of detail and (b) once progress ground to a halt, sending copies of everything, certified mail with signature acknowledging receipt required, along with my politely written request for whatever it was I was seeking (a refund, an explanation) AND (c) cc’ing (really, no kidding, and that with its own cover letter and also certified mail with signature acknowledging receipt required), whatever regulatory body the organization I’m contacting falls under.

    It takes time (mine and others’), and I wouldn’t dream of abusing it (really). But boy oh boy has it generated prompt and effective results on the few occasions I’ve needed to use it.

  4. Squirrelers Says:

    Yes, it pays to ask and doesn’t cost much. It’s generally a low-cost investment with high upside. Why not do it? Unless in poor taste, I think asking is a smart move.

    Last time I just asked was when adding an extra night to a vacation stay. We were at a place that was normally $149 per night, but got a room for a $99 special promo rate. I asked to renew, and they told me $149. I then asked for the promo rate, and said we enjoyed our stay, would like to come back in the future, and would like the promo rate:) They right away agreed.

    So yes, it certainly doesn’t hurt to ask.

  5. Suba @ Wealth Informatics Says:

    I have asked for all of the above and more I guess. Upgrades for hotel rooms, rental cars, show tickets in Vegas, waiving the overdraft fee (yeah it was our fault)… all we had to do is ask politely. We bought new smart phones this weekend as well, hopefully they won’t suck. We tried to take advantage of an offer but it didn’t work out, after a lot of time on the phone (which I am not happy about), the CSR just matched the offer and it worked out to our advantage as the matched offer didn’t have any rebates.

  6. Revanche Says:


    Just last weekend, the grocery store overcharged us on some of the salsas the PiC loves – I took it back and had them check. Yes, the flier says “select varieties” but check first to see if these particular ones actually do not qualify for the sale before accepting the higher price, TYVM.

    Late fees and hiked interest rates for cards where it was my mistake and I’ve been a long time customer – AMEX has been more than gracious about waiving the fee.

    When items are dinged, scratched or dented and they’re the last ones on the shelf, and the marring isn’t the end of the world, I ask for a discount. Makes them final sale but if I’m ok with that, then it usually saves about 10 or 15%.

    It’s practically always worth asking as you either save something or nothing, you never get charged extra that I know of! :)

    • Leah Says:

      A few years ago, I found a dress I liked at Target. They only had one in my size. It was something like $20 on sale. There was a little flaw — part of the seam lining poked out onto the outside. I was pretty sure I could take care of it at home, but I asked the section manager if they might have another dress in the back. She said they were all out of dresses, but tell the lady at the cashier that she said to give an something-or-other discount (not numbers — special name that I now forget). I got the dress for $8! I was so stoked. Definitely worth my time to ask. And I was easily able to fix the dress at home, and I still wear it.

  7. Comrade PhysioProf Says:

    What have you just asked for?


  8. Money Reasons Says:

    I had a problem with one credit card bank, where the bill kept getting lost (our mail carrier is horrible). The game me some slack about it, but after the 1st call, I called back and got someone else. They took care of my problem, even though the first guy swore that it wasn’t possible (silly rep… anything is possible…)

  9. MoneyCone Says:

    I once asked amazon to upgrade my shipping to next day since the holidays were near and I didn’t think my gps would be in time for the road trip.

    It actually worked!

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