I argue with telecom companies for a living to help save people money on their bills. If you’ve ever been furious at Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner, you’ve probably got good reason. No one really loves these companies, and it’s because they’ve got some of the shadiest business practices around, including overcharging just about everyone on cable/internet/cell phones.

That's why my brother and I created BillFixers. We haggle with these companies for our customers, getting better rates/promotions/more data/whatever we can. We were tired of them getting away with their price gouging so now we fight back.

I’m here with my brother (u/gutenbergbible) to help give advice on how to negotiate with these companies to save money - without losing your mind. We specialize in telecom bills but we’ve worked on everything from airline refunds to business software. Turns out, just about everything is negotiable! Ask us anything!

Our Story

Three years ago, I was studying to be a lawyer, my brother was in college and working freelance as a graphic designer, and both of us were haggling with our cable companies 1,000 miles apart. We decided to start a side gig negotiating bills for fun, came up with the name BillFixers, and posted on r/entrepreneur, which blew up pretty much immediately.

These days, we’ve got a team of more than 20 people, including people who are better at negotiation, customer service, and development than we ever were, been featured in The New York Times (who called us ethically ambiguous) and NBC Nightly News, and we’ve negotiated more than two million dollars out of the pocket of companies like Comcast and AT&T and put it back into the pockets of their customers.

Proof: https://twitter.com/BillFixers/status/896156096242438144

More Proof: http://imgur.com/3xmpvJw

We want to help people get themselves better deals on their monthly bills and stop getting ripped off by these giant corporations. Ask us anything about dealing with your cable/internet provider, how to negotiate, net neutrality, or really whatever you want!

Comments: 170 • Responses: 56  • Date: 

Richa65223 karma

Out of all the companies you deal with, can you rank them by most shady to least shady?

gadgetcopter50 karma

The most shady is probably Comcast. It's the little things that make them stand out.

For example, if you're a current Comcast customer, if you look at their "prices" page it will show you falsely inflated prices to make you think you're getting a good deal on your package. But if you look at that same window in incognito mode, it'll show you the "new customer" price, which is often at least 30% lower.

They'll also regularly assert that you've signed a contract, or agreed to a contract, and try to charge you an early termination fee for cancelling your service. However, in our experience, when we push them on it they regularly can't provide evidence of any agreement and "waive" the ETF.

I'd say the least shady is Google Fiber. They seem to stick to their word with what they say they'll do and their pricing model is straightforward. Their main downside is that they're not in many markets and have been pretty slow to roll out. Speaking of which, the reason they've been slow to roll out in Nashville is because Comcast sued them to prevent Google from being able to attach Fiber lines to utility poles that Comcast doesn't even own.

MatanKatan12 karma

Comcast must hate your guts...congrats!

gadgetcopter20 karma

This actually all started because of them. Originally we were just going haggle Comcast bills.

IamBlackOG9 karma

Speaking of which, the reason they've been slow to roll out in Nashville is because Comcast sued them to prevent Google from being able to attach Fiber lines to utility poles that Comcast doesn't even own.

Wow. The legal system in the USA is fucked up.

gadgetcopter11 karma

Good news is things are finally looking up today! A judge just threw out a suit about this in Louisville.

SarahWritesBest20 karma

What's the key to getting Charter to admit they made a mistake? They came out yesterday to hook up my neighbor's Internet. There's an outside box for my unit and my neighbors. After Charter drove off, I discovered they disconnected me. I called and they came out, reconnected me, and charged me more than $50 because they said it was my mistake and it's a new account!

I've been a Charter customer since 2005, but I can't get them to reverse the charge. Any ideas? Thanks!

gadgetcopter21 karma

God, that's egregious. Stuff like that where they're just CLEARLY in the wrong is where social media is good. Tweet at them (@Ask_Spectrum I think) and one of their social media people will resolve it. If not, just keep badgering them about it and run it up the chain of command until somebody waives it. They definitely will (but it'll require a lot of patience.)

MachoInTheMaking18 karma

How much money do you make?

gadgetcopter25 karma

Right now, nothing. Glamorous, I know. We've re-invested every cent we've made back into the business to help it grow.

MatanKatan3 karma

Medical billing advocates charge between 25%-35% of what they save the customer.

gadgetcopter10 karma

We haven't taken on medical billing yet (I want to make sure we know how to do it well before we offer it to anyone) but it's definitely something we want to do in the future. Have you tried any companies that do it? What could they improve on?

arbitrarily-random7 karma

United Airlines played a dirty trick on my ealier this year. I'm sorry this is sorta long; I wish I could come up with a quicker way to ask this question, but hopefully after reading you will understand.

I admit, I did accidentally attempt to purchase a ticket - by phone, I called United directly - right before payday, not realizing that my direct deposit had not happened yet, so the transaction was declined. As soon as the lightbulb went on, I said, "Doh! Sorry, never mind!" And that was that. I even got an email to the effect, "Your transaction was declined, if you do not call us back with another form of payment within 24 hours, your reservation will be cancelled." I took no action.

I got paid a couple days later and bought a ticket from a different airline, because I found a better price.

Imagine my shock when, about two weeks later, I got a text notification to CHECK IN for my United flight. Yep, the one that the transaction was declined, the one that I never called back with a different form of payment. They went ahead and re-submitted my transaction TWO DAYS LATER, after the email confirming it had been declined, without me calling back, without my permission, and since my direct deposit had happened by that time, the transaction went through. But since I rarely check my email, I never saw the e-tickets, and now the time window for refunds was long gone. They refused to refund my money, nearly $700.

When I failed to get anywhere with them, I called my bank, and they initially agreed with me and refunded my money, but a few months later they inexplicably reversed their decision and took the money back.

This situation has had me in tears, and I have given up ever seeing my money again. A credit does me no good because I will drive, take a bus, or walk before I will ever fly United again, they can go straight to you know where.

I did some research, and spoke to a real person that audits PCI compliance, and they said it is not in violation to keep credit card numbers and 3 digit codes for a period of time, as long as it's in an encrypted database, so, incredibly, that is allowed.

I found some federal agencies to complain to, but nobody is going to help me get my money back. Can you guys help me with this? Am I the only person in the world this has happened to? I spent literally days and days googling and never found another single incident like this. I had to stop because it was seriously stressing me out.

It's not just about the money; what they did is WRONG.

gadgetcopter6 karma

That sounds miserable! Happy to see what we can do! Shoot me an email at [email protected]. Even if we can't help I know some people that might be able to.

Richa6527 karma

In your opinion, if there were a standardized monthly payment throughout the industry how much would/should it be?

Gutenbergbible10 karma

This is a great question; it depends on the services exactly. But there are two models I'd look at for reference: Google Fiber and Municipal Broadband. Neither of them are in it to make a big profit and both of them provide actually good service, rather than seriously limiting people for the sake of an extra buck.

Google Fiber currently does:

$50/mo for 100Mbps

$70/mo for 1Gbps

$140/mo for 100Mbps + TV

$160/mo for 1Gbps + TV

+$10/mo for home phone

Chattanooga's Municipal Fiber currently does:

$60/mo for 100Mbps

$70/mo for 1Gbps

$80/mo for 100Mbps + Local Channels

$130/mo for 100Mbps + Decent TV

$170/mo for 100Mbps + a bunch of channels + Home Phone

Granted, these are not super cheap pricing comparatively, but the level of service is much higher.

-Ben

H_Donna_Gust6 karma

I have AT&T internet and I pay $62/month for a max of 14 Mbps. I hate it.

ThisIsReLLiK7 karma

I have spectrum and I pay $69.99 a month for 60mbps. I didn't think it was that bad.

hey-there-taxable2 karma

I pay $44.99 for the same thing. More ya know.

gadgetcopter2 karma

One of the trickiest things about cable/internet rates is how much they vary regionally. There are a million other factors that can play into it, but it does sometimes strike us as crazy how much people can have completely different minimums and maximums for the same service from even one town to the next.

PiscesWolf2 karma

Oh wow, we pay $59 a month for 6 Mbps.

We're being severely ripped off, holy crap.

gadgetcopter2 karma

Yeah that's crazy. Where are you located? Who is your provider?

saint_riot7 karma

The emergence of your business seems like the exact sort of thing these big providers would want to stop from happening. Have you ever been approached by any of the major telecoms or have they made any attempt to get you to cease operations?

gadgetcopter9 karma

Dish did send me five emails threatening to sue us if we didn't take their logo off our website (in a section listing people's "favorite" providers). Unfortunately for them, the logo remains.

However unless our internet going out regularly for a few months was intentional, there haven't been any clear attempts to get us to cease operations. I think if they do it'll make the problem much larger and more public, which is really our end goal anyway. It's a win/win from my perspective.

AustralianHandstand7 karma

[deleted]

gadgetcopter10 karma

Yep! We've been adding in services/utilities as fast as we can. We now do everything from gas/electric to newspapers to waste management. We also have been expanding the small business negotiations side of BillFixers to help with common business expenses like software, hosting, shipping expenses, you name it.

Only things we don't do yet are medical bills and credit cards/debt.

nontechnicalbowler6 karma

I've found that successful negotiating with businesses like Telecom often depends on who you're speaking with. Example: I wasn't successful in lowering my bill talking with them on Monday, but I was successful on Thursday.

Do you have any suggestions on how that process can be sped up, or is there a point in which you give up?

gadgetcopter1 karma

I think that's very true. A lot of it depends on if you get lucky with the rep you're talking to, so if you're not getting anywhere, instead of throwing yourself against a wall just call back and speak to someone else.

If nothing seems to work, try calling the corporate office, they want to get stuff off their plate which means they can expedite some issues.

niazimianwali5 karma

Do you guys have a website of your company ?

gadgetcopter3 karma

Yep! I should have linked it more clearly in the post, but it's https://billfixers.com

-Roycie-5 karma

What's your target market? Household contracts or small clients?

Do you take a rev share of what you save people, or charge a fixed fee?

gadgetcopter5 karma

We started off focusing entirely on residential services as, in our experience, those were the people that were getting taken advantage of the most. That's still the heart of what we do, but we've had so many requests for help with small businesses that we've been focusing on that side of things as well.

Right now we split savings 50/50 for the first year. If we don't save anything we don't charge anything. Basically, we only get paid if we do a good job. That's been our model since day one.

armacham4204 karma

Have you ever negotiated leaving a provider like Century Link early without paying the termination fee, or at least reducing it? I'm very unhappy with my service speed and quality of connection, but I'm stuck with them for another 6 months.

gadgetcopter5 karma

Yep! We do this all the time. ETFs can be a totally nightmare, but they're not as ironclad as companies make them sound. The good news for you is that if you haven't actually cancelled the service yet, you're in a way stronger position. We're happy to help, but u/gutenbergbible actually wrote a super in-depth guide on this if you want to try it yourself.

knowitallz4 karma

Comcrap just raised my bill by $5 a month for the same service. What can I do to negotiate back to the same rate or even lower rate? What is my leverage?

gadgetcopter5 karma

Your leverage is the business that you're giving them! The most effective way to negotiate that bill back down is going to be to call 'em up and threaten to cancel.

They may try to get away with just offering you a free channel or a free upgrade etc etc, but neither of those will decrease your bill (and actually might increase it in the future). Don't give in until they offer you money off your bill every month.

(Also, if they raised it $5 this month it might mean they're stepping you up to an even higher rate next month. They'll often do it gradually so you don't notice a huge increase in any given month.)

equinox754 karma

What's the most expense bill you got a client out of paying?

gadgetcopter8 karma

I think Ben answered this one, so I'll quote him!

In terms of biggest savings, there's a big gap between residential bills and businesses. The most we've ever saved an individual on a single bill was just shy of $7,000. They were getting completely ripped off by Verizon Wireless, paying for a ton of services that they hadn't used (international plans, hotspots they didn't even know they had, crazy stuff.) Plus another few thousand on their other bills.

In terms of charges reversed for a business, I think the biggest was an early termination fee a business was being charged when they were trying to move locations. We got that waived entirely, $70,000, plus negotiated another $25,000 or so off their new contract.

AgentElman4 karma

Is there a reasonable rate or do you just argue for as low as possible?

gadgetcopter7 karma

It depends on the provider and the bill. Having done this so many times, we can kind of get a feel for how much the bill should be just by looking at the services. That said, plenty of times we've gotten lower rates than we expected, so we try not to be satisfied getting a 'reasonable' rate and go for as low as possible.

hamster_bomb3 karma

how many bills can your firm negotiate day?

gadgetcopter2 karma

As many as you've got!

Aar0U3 karma

How do I hire you?

gadgetcopter2 karma

Hop over to our website! It's https://billfixers.com

rickmuscles3 karma

What's your best tip for marketing a new business?

Would you like to sponsor a podcast?

gadgetcopter3 karma

We've had a lot of luck with our blog, trying to provide useful information to people that they aren't able to find elsewhere!

Depends on the podcast!

rickmuscles2 karma

It's just a small podcast on bamasports radio w/ affordable rates! Feel free to pm me!

gadgetcopter2 karma

Thanks! We'll check it out!

coryrenton3 karma

would you consider partnering with a company's competitor to gain leverage in negotiation by offering your clients a deal to switch if they don't re-imburse or lower fees?

gadgetcopter2 karma

It's an interesting question.

Right now, we aim to save people money without having to switch to another provider.

However, our overall goal is to help people save as much money as possible. If a competitor is offering better, cheaper service, we're going to recommend them to our customers.

That said, regarding partnership, one of our main goals is for every customer to know that we're giving them the best possible savings advice, without being influenced by a competitor having some sort of deal with us. If the competitor is objectively better, switching is going to be the best advice we can give, but we'd only want to partner if that was the case.

coryrenton2 karma

i would assume that the competitor would offer the special rates exclusively to your clients, and would not generally be available -- so the leverage would be something only you would have (and the clients would not be able to use without you)

gadgetcopter3 karma

Yeah absolutely. We've talked with a few companies about this exact kind of thing. One of our goals is to help enough people that we really have some weight to throw around in terms of negotiating deals like, so they're actually cutting our people a fair deal.

dlands20113 karma

Can you please help my dad? He won't stop asking me about it. Please?

gadgetcopter1 karma

Sure thing - send him our way! (Or just have us do it secretly and take all the credit).

canadian053 karma

Um, are you looking for more people passionate about negotiating with these evil companies? I always relish in my victories with cable/phone companies.

gadgetcopter1 karma

Always! You wouldn't happen to be in the Nashville area, would you?

canadian052 karma

No, but I have a very fast internet connection. I even pay a semi reasonable price for it since I call Comcast every year to upgrade my service for a price reduction.

It would almost feel like I'm there with you. I even have a lovable sarcastic wit about me.

gadgetcopter2 karma

Lovable sarcastic wit is one of our core company values. We're mostly looking for people locally but feel free to shoot me an email at [email protected] and we can talk.

Charash993 karma

Do you have any advice on debt collectors? (Not sure if that's in your realm or not.) Also our internet company Charter is constantly down yet we pay a ton for it. Any advice on what we can do?

gadgetcopter2 karma

Debt collection is a little outside of our realm, but there are some free resources on it. The good news is that there is actually pretty strict regulation about what they can and can't do now so if you do some reading on it, you might be able to prevent anything crazy they're doing.

They've also bought that debt for pennies on the dollar, so they will almost certainly settle. Offer them a lowball offer and see what they come back with. But make sure they debt is legitimate!

For Charter, if you give them a call and tell them about the outages, they'll probably throw on a credit on there. If you know when the outages were or are really indignant, they'll do as much as waiving the whole month.

MatanKatan3 karma

This may have already been asked, but did you finish law school and pass the bar? If so, do you ever threaten companies with legal action or cite consumer protection laws in your work? Or do you really try to stay away from all that?

gadgetcopter3 karma

I did! Graduated in 2015 and passed the bar that year.

Unfortunately, legal action takes way too long for most people, and the amounts are so small it isn't really worth it for anyone involved. My hope is that once we get larger, we'll have enough customers behind us that we'll be able to leverage those more effectively.

MatanKatan2 karma

Very cool. Attorneys have always impressed me with their ability to think through very complicated problems, very quickly...I imagine that skill comes in handy when dealing with Comcast and others.

Also, looking through your staff directory on your website, I've gotta ask -- is Justin Diliberto related to Johnny Mathis? The resemblance is uncanny.

gadgetcopter2 karma

I will say I've never seen the two of them in the same place at the same time...

NickJLV3 karma

What's your experience with dealing with time warner and their billing? Also do you use their intermittent lag spikes on their internet service as leverage? Thanks!

gadgetcopter6 karma

Time Warner is especially bad nowadays. They got bought by Charter and renamed "Spectrum", and Charter has basically tried to do a giant price increase across the board. If you're grandfathered in on a TWC price, sometimes any changes at all makes the account switch to Spectrum, with different channels, prices, etc.

Intermittent lag spikes/speed drops can sometimes be used to get partial service credits, but they generally won't give you more than a small-ish one time credit for the inconvenience, if anything.

Skullface223 karma

I'm paying Comcast $59.99 a month for 175 Mbps at a 1Tb limit. Am I being ripped off? I thought it was low in comparison to everyone I know. I can't wait for fiber to be available in my area.

gadgetcopter6 karma

It could be worse. If that includes a modem, that's a decent price. If you've got your own modem and you're paying that, you might be able to save $10-15/mo. While 1TB isn't a particularly low cap (for a while they were doing 300GB, and still are in some places), the whole idea of caps is infuriating. It's just a new way they discovered to add fees.

Skullface222 karma

Thanks for your answer. I'm definitely going to be telling everyone I know about your services. I've already bookmarked it ready to share

gadgetcopter2 karma

I really appreciate it. We don't do a big advertising or marketing budget or anything like that, so word of mouth always means the world to us and lets us keep fighting these guys!

TheNastyBits3 karma

This looks absolutely great. Do you negotiate with cable/internet providers whose logos aren't shown on your website, say Cox?

gadgetcopter3 karma

Yep! We just don't have room to show all the providers we negotiate with on the site! We negotiate with Cox all the time.

TheHectus3 karma

Any tips on dealing with people/businesses who seem closed to negotiation, those that don't engage you at all?

gadgetcopter6 karma

The main tip I give everyone is to be friendly. It seems like stupid, obvious advice, but it really works extremely well. People want to work with/help people they like.

Ralph-P3 karma

How do you get business? Do most customers find you on their own?

gadgetcopter2 karma

Most of our customers are from word of mouth! We've also gotten lucky with a few big articles that have helped people learn about us. It's a new, weird industry so no one really knows to search for us if they haven't already heard of us.

pgok153 karma

What sort of billing issue do you see the most/what sort of issues do you have the must success with (i.e., getting a concession from the company)?

gadgetcopter4 karma

It depends on the provider for sure.

For cell phones, we used to run into a common problem (less so now) where they would be charging an extra $25/mo per line on the access fee for literally no reason other than that they could. It was a holdover policy from when they offered phone "subsidies" - they'd take $200 off the price of the phone up front and then charge $25/mo every month afterwards to make the money back. But then when they moved away from the subsidy model, they kept charging the $25/mo, even when people were paying full price for the phones. We were 100% successful fixing this.

For cable companies the main issue is people ask for help with is when a company increases a customer's price by 50-100% after the first year. This we can almost always solve as well.

napoleonpp2 karma

Hopefully I'm not too late for this!! Verizon is charging me $20 a month for each phone (2 lines) on my plane for "Smartphone Line Access." I actually just noticed this yesterday.

We are currently still paying for the phones with monthly payments to Verizon. Are you saying they shouldn't be charging us the "Smartphone Line Access"?

gadgetcopter2 karma

It depends on exactly what your situation is, but it sounds like that's probably legitimate. With Verizon, almost everything has a line access charge. $20 should be the right amount, but good to keep an eye out!

SimpleJoint2 karma

What would we Look for on say a Verizon bill for this?

gadgetcopter2 karma

On a Verizon bill, all of your costs are going to be broken down by line item. So, you're looking under each individual cell phone and then looking for what /u/napoleonpp was talking about, the "Smartphone Line Access."

If that's $20 like his is, you're golden. If it's $45 a month and you're not in a contract with a subsidized phone, you've got a problem. If it's higher than that, you've got a bigger problem!

Trees-are-life2 karma

do you still practice law?

gadgetcopter2 karma

I'm still a licensed attorney in Tennessee, but I don't really practice. Most of the legal work I do now is for BillFixers.

ethanspoppa_ok2 karma

So is $75/mo for 100mbps cable with no data cap a good deal, or am I being screwed?

gadgetcopter1 karma

Depends on the area and provider, but I'd say it's on the high end. Generally with internet only, most providers will be able to knock off $20 or so from a price like that.

The only situation I know where $75/mo for internet only is a decent deal was a 1Gbps contract promo Comcast was running last year.

bunzler2 karma

Great AMA. My off-topic question is: Who / what company did you use to create your website?

gadgetcopter1 karma

We actually built it ourselves on Wordpress. Not necessarily the best idea, but when you're bootstrapping, it's all about finding the most cost-efficient ways to do things.

We used a theme and drew inspiration from a number of other sites we liked and then we just A/B tested it like crazy to find the best way to make it user-friendly and high-converting.

gadgetcopter2 karma

Oh, and we actually have had some luck in the past contracting stuff out via r/designjobs or r/forhire. But generally we've found that the premium you pay for somebody US-based is worth it.

SaturnineDenial2 karma

Do you have any tips for AT&T phone plans? What are some common fallacies in their billing that customers need help with?

gadgetcopter2 karma

u/BillFixers_Jake's tips here are solid! That "unlimited" thing where it throttles really applies to all the major players these days. I'd say to hang on to a grandfathered unlimited plan, but almost nobody has them anymore these days since AT&T jacked up the prices and pushed everybody off.

One additional thought that might be a little outside the box—AT&T has MVNOs (third party cell providers that use their network) at a significantly reduced rate. Companies like Cricket or Straight Talk (and much smaller, non namebrand ones) will be a better rate for the same network, unless you're committed to AT&T as a brand or have something specific with them.

youthslipping2 karma

Your service reminds me many of the other startups that hire people to accomplish side gigs; are you considering expanding your services? Also, do companies actually try to scam you? My mom always haggles but I never thought this was universal.

gadgetcopter5 karma

We're definitely trying to expand our services but we haven't tried the 'gig' model. Right now everyone works out of our office, which means that we're able to have a better feel for who we're hiring.

Companies wouldn't call it that, but the countless class actions against them would. Opaque pricing, click-through terms that bind you to large fees - call it what you want but we don't like it.

Most people don't ever haggle their bills! I bet she's saved thousands over what she'd pay otherwise.

YenThara2 karma

My car insurance just went up. They are saying because more and more people are moving to my area that they are going to increase it by $30 a month! Do you guys deal with auto insurance?

gadgetcopter3 karma

First of all, that's crazy! You'd think that having more people in the area would let them bring down prices.

We don't currently do car insurance - I'm copy pasting Ben's answer from above, but:

"I remember we did a couple of Geico accounts when we were testing out if insurance was viable, but the long and short of it is that there's not an easy answer.

With the major insurance players, there isn't the kind of individual level negotiation flexibility that you get with telecoms (or even with the smaller broker-types.) That being said, they do offer discounts on a million different pre-selected things though. So, make sure you check that you qualify for everything—you're probably a member of an organization that has discounts."

peterzi2 karma

u/gadgetcopter, you run the most profitable branch of BillFixers. How do you do it?

gadgetcopter5 karma

No, no. That's too hard. Say your name is Zamboni and then I will say, "Well, we're sort of on thin ice.'"

TypicalBlaqMan2 karma

How can I convince FiOS to give me their introductory rate for gigabit? I'm paying 80 for 150/150 and then I get fliers in the mail for symmetrical gigabit for the same price but only for new customers! I called to ask about it and they said it's non negotiable, the gigabit rate for current customers is 125/month...

gadgetcopter2 karma

Gigabit is a tricky one. There are very few places with actual gigabit competition. While there's intense competition in a handful of markets, in places where there's only one option they basically tell you to shove it.

Standard customer service departments pretty much never are able to match new customer promos or pricing for existing customers—it's just one of their pre-programmed options. If you want something like that, you generally have to go higher up the chain of command, to an escalations team supervisor or somebody at Verizon HQ.

mymassiveness2 karma

Can you please tell Sallie Mae to go fuck themselves for me? In whatever way that satisfies my bill, of course. Thanks

gadgetcopter3 karma

We're on it!

ThePsion2 karma

You guys are awesome! When I had Verizon Wireless, you guys negotiated a lower bill for me! I've since switched to Google Fi, and you mentioned that Google Fiber is the least shady company you work with. If more companies went to more fair and honest price structures (granted, that will never happen), what kind of business do you think you'd most like to transition to?

gadgetcopter2 karma

Awesome - I'm glad we could help! How's Google Fi working for you? I wanted to switch to Google Fi myself but I'll have to wait until I get a new phone since it doesn't work with my current one.

We've always joked that our main goal is basically to make shady companies improve until we put ourselves out of business. I'd love to use some of what we've learned from this business to help improve medical billing and healthcare costs. It's an enormously important issue in the country that needs as many people helping as possible.

ThePsion2 karma

Fi has been great, although the Nexus 6 was the phone i had my eye on anyway, so it worked out great for me.

Do you foresee yourselves only working with medical billing, or other parts of insurance as well? I'm thinking vision and dental specifically.

gadgetcopter2 karma

I think medical billing would be the most analogous to what we do now, but we wouldn't want to limit to just that. I'd love to get involved and see what we can do with vision and dental as well.

HATE_LYME2 karma

Hey man, what a great job you're doing! I have two questions.

I've been negotiating my internet bill for years, but last time I called, they called me out on threatening to cancel. They didn't use those words, but they pointed out all the times I had called to cancel. They still lowered my bill, but what is your opinion on this? You think they are "bluffing"? I find it hard to believe they will stop lowering my bill for trying too often. Any advice on what to say next time?

Also, somehow, during every year, the fees start creeping up again, any way to stop that? Its like my bill starts with what we negotiated and ends the year with what I began with.

gadgetcopter2 karma

Fortunately, the penalty for them "catching" you is...nothing! (as you found out by them lowering the bill, despite that start!) Plus, even if they refuse, you can just call back and you'll likely speak with a rep who is more reasonable.

They're certainly bluffing.

Also, the reps get it. They have these same bills - they sympathize! That's why being friendly is so effective. They're likely already on your side.

Re: Bill Creep - this is tough. Really the best answer is to stay vigilant, as it sounds like you're doing. Another option is accepting a contract with your provider, which are not ideal if you prefer flexibility, but give you more assurance that the price will stay put (at least for the duration).

HATE_LYME2 karma

Your answer is so helpful! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer me.

gadgetcopter2 karma

Feel free to reach out anytime, happy to help!

RedditOrNot872 karma

Do you anticipate any others creating a similar organization? If so, when do you think that these companies will start appearing?

gadgetcopter2 karma

Since we started there have been several other companies that have popped up to compete, though not many have stuck around. I think more and more you'll start seeing these services integrated into personal finance apps and the like.

Miseryy2 karma

Did you ever encounter any arithmetic errors when negotiating?

gadgetcopter2 karma

Half of what we do is trying to sort out the insane arithmetic people throw at us. Can't tell you how many times I've been promised that a certain change would make the bill go down but when I pressed them on the numbers, turns out the bill would have actually increased in price.

Vexio0-4 karma

Why are stuff like this so boring?

gadgetcopter3 karma

Hey, caught your attention didn't it! But really, negotiating bills makes a lot of people's eyes glaze over, which is one of the main reasons they come to us!