LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – High inflation has been pushing up the cost of many Americans’ monthly bills, but if you think you could be paying less, you’re probably right.

Service companies have protocols for giving customers better offers, but they are counting on never being asked about them. Consumer Reports writer Mandy Walker shares the steps to get a better deal.

First, she says to take a good look at your monthly bills to see what services you’re paying for.

“See if there’s anything you don’t need anymore that you’re paying for, like highspeed internet because the kids were gaming, but now they’re at college or cell phone insurance. But now your cell phone is six or seven years old,” said Walker.

Then, compare your bill with the discounts on your current provider’s website and check competitors’ websites too.

“Discounts, they’re giving new clients or existing clients. So, you’ve got all this information you can use as leverage when you call,” said Walker.

Dial the customer service line when the senior employees are typically working, that’s usually weekdays from nine to five and immediately ask for the retention department.

“Those people, their job is to keep you as a customer. And they’ve got access to the really good deals that customer service won’t have,” Walker said.

Ask open-ended questions instead of yes or no questions.

“Say, for example, what kind of deals do you have that I’m not taking advantage of? They might even throw out a deal that you weren’t even aware of, that you didn’t even see in your research, and you might get an even better rate.”

And don’t jump at the first offer.

“Don’t hesitate to say thank you very much, but I was really hoping to get this other deal. Can you match that?” Walker said.

Once you’re done negotiating, get the final offer in writing and double-check your next bill to make sure they’ve lowered it by the correct amount.