As you try to get ahead in life, there will always be someone trying to take what you’ve got. You need to pay attention, especially when it comes to your daily finances.

Greed rules our world.

There will ALWAYS be someone out there who is trying to take advantage of you. In many cases, that “someone” is a large corporation who often tries just to make a buck off of poor, unsuspecting customers like and I, because they can.

The average person gets ripped off every day.

In many cases, the victims don’t even know they’re being taken advantage of. I’m not talking about muggers or burglars taking what you have. I’m referring to companies you trust stealing your hard earned money.

Example: I received a bill recently for my trash pickup service. Out of the blue, for no good reason, the company sent me a rate increase. The new cost was $138.65, an increase of about $10.00 more than my last bill. I’d been thinking about changing companies anyway because of what I was paying, so I shopped around. To my surprise, I found a competitor who offered a similar service for just $75.00.

I called my current company to cancel my service so I could switch. The employee proceeded to tell me what a valued customer I am. He wanted to know what the company could do to keep me as a customer.

I said, “stop ripping me off”.

After a few minutes of conversation, the person on the other end of the phone said “we can offer you a new rate totaling $68.00, which includes taxes and fees.

I was happy, but I was angry at the same time.

I asked him why they’ve been charging me double that amount if they could offer such a low rate.

He said “because you didn’t ask”.

That got me to thinking. If all I had to do was ask, why couldn’t I do the same with other services, bills and products I buy?

The answer is I can. And I have.

I went through similar conversations with other utilities.

My county wastewater provider bills customers for an “average flat rate” of 11,000 gallons per month. I don’t use anywhere near that amount, so I called to complain. My $80.00 monthly bill suddenly dropped to $20.00 because “most people don’t call to say anything”.

I also did this with my internet provider and my cell phone provider, both of which resulted in lower monthly bills on my accounts.

I did it with my credit card companies and got my interest rates lowered there too.

Cable TV companies are some of the biggest scammers out there. They often advertise rates for new customers which are substantially lower than what existing customers pay. If you call up and complain, they’ll usually give you the lower rate.

While it’s not illegal for them to over charge , it is wrong.

Negotiating is a lost art, but the average consumer shouldn’t expect they’ll need to do this with “trusted” services we use everyday. But apparently we DO need to. It’s pretty sad when companies make millions of dollars each year by taking advantage of uninformed customers, but they do.

You have to remember corporations are driven by profit. They don’t care about you. Over time, these little bits of excess charges can add up to hundreds or thousands of dollars per year. For the corporations, these over charged amounts add up to millions of dollars per year for them.

It’s time for consumers to take charge of their finances.

Look at your bills each month.

Check your bank statements.

Check your invoices and receipts.

If something doesn’t look right, say something!

Most importantly, don’t be shy! It’s okay to complain, or at least ask if you can get a better deal. In many cases, you probably will. But if you don’t say anything, you’ll never know.

You work hard for your money and you also need to work hard to keep it!

~ Marty ~