7 Ways You Didn’t Realize You’re Being Ripped Off

7 Ways You Didn’t Realize You’re Being Ripped Off

Most of the time, companies hate being totally honest when it comes to giving us the best available deals. They’ll “forget” to tell us about introductory discounts and then blindside us with hidden fees that make their original offer sound like fool’s gold. We’d love to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s all in good faith, but really, it’s hard to think they’re not trying to take advantage of us. So we’ve put together a list of ways to save money, even though companies are trying their best to rip us off. You’re entitled to the best deal available. Here’s how to get it:

1. Internet and Cable Bills

Internet service providers like Comcast, Xfinity, and Time Warner love to charge customers different rates for the same services, and they do it in the strangest ways. Since most areas tend to have only one available service provider, local competition rarely exists. That means that companies like Cox or Verizon will feel entitled to name your price to their heart’s content, without mentioning better available deals. You have nowhere else to turn, so they feel comfortable ripping you off, even while charging someone else less.

But there is something you can do about it. If you suspect something fishy is up, we recommend you call their customer service line directly and fight for your right to pay the lowest available rate. After advocating for yourself, you could be paying 30% less per month for the same service. Before calling, it’s important to do your research on the lowest available rates in your area, so that you have the hard evidence you need to make your case — our savings calculator and websites like Allconnect can help you figure out how much, exactly, you’re overpaying. If you realize you are paying too much, you can sign up for Trim and let us take care of everything, from research to negotiations. It’s our job to know what the lowest rate in any given area is, and we have a proven track record of lowering monthly internet and cable bills for our customers. Best of all, this service won’t cost you a dime unless we save you money. We charge a 33% success fee, which means that you get to keep 67% of the savings that we’ve negotiated on your behalf.

2. Utility Bills

Usually, utility bills are based on fixed rates determined by the state. But in certain “deregulated states”, it’s entirely possible that you’re being overcharged by your utility company. If you live in one of those states, companies like Arcadia can help you negotiate your bills and switch over to a clean energy source while you’re at it. They even offer you $15 towards your first energy bill once you’ve signed up.

3. Insurance

We’re used to insurance being expensive, but it’s beginning to look like times are changing. Some newer insurance providers are committed to keeping their rates as low as possible, but since they’ve only been around for a few years, they might not be on your radar yet. Lemonade, for instance, offers Homeowners and Renters Insurance for rates as low as $5 per month, and Fabric provides drastically reduced Life Insurance rates. We recommend you check them out if you think you’re paying too much for insurance. And if your car or home insurance rate seems a little inflated, you should do some research on Gabi. Once you type in your information, they’ll help compare all of your insurance options in one streamlined format and help you find the best deal available.

4. Subscription Services

That “first-month free” offer isn’t so common because companies love to give out freebies. Subscription companies count on us forgetting about them after we’ve given out our credit card information, and their bet tends to pay off. In most states, companies aren’t legally obligated to inform you before “auto-renewing” your monthly or annual charge. But now, you can protect yourself by signing up for Trim. Using our app, you can track and manage all of your subscriptions in one place, and cancel any subscriptions you don’t want with a single click. This service is completely free, and it has already saved customers hundreds of dollars.

5. Credit Card Interest APR

If your interest is racking up fast and you don’t know what to do, there are some quick, easy steps to make your payment plan more manageable. First, know that your APR is entirely negotiable — calling your credit card company and asking for some leniency could reap rewards that you weren’t expecting. But if that doesn’t work, balance transfer cards are a great way to halt interest on your debts so that you can have a second to breathe and pay them off at your own pace. That promotional 0% APR for the first year might be all you need to get your debt under control.

If neither of those options does the trick, the Trim Debt Payoff program is another great resource for tackling credit card debt and negotiating a lower APR. Once you sign up, we’ll get in touch in touch with your credit card company about lowering your interest rates, and we’ll help create a custom payoff plan that will keep you on track to paying off your debts. You’ll also get access to expert advice from financial coaches, who will help you prepare for the future along the way. This service is just $10 a month, and it comes with a 90-day money-back guarantee.

6. Airlines

There are a few tricks-of-the-trade for getting the cheapest airfare, and our article on planning an affordable vacation covers most of them. Once you’ve booked your ticket, though, there’s still a lot that can go wrong: if your flight gets canceled or delayed, chances are good you won’t receive a penny for your troubles. But new websites like the aptly-named Service were started to help you get refunds for delayed or canceled flights, and adjust when the unexpected happens. Service automatically saves you money by re-booking your hotel stay if your flight has been delayed. They also demand compensation from the airline whenever your flight did not leave on time.

7. Electronics Warranties

Buying a two-year warranty for that new AC Unit or refrigerator might seem like a prudent idea, but it’s not always the smartest move. First, outlets like Best Buy or Amazon won’t always tell you if the product already comes with a manufacturer’s warranty that covers the same repairs as their “extended warranty.” They’ll come up with reasons why it’s important to have two warranties instead of one, but all-too-often they’ll be leaving out key details. For instance, instead of starting the extended warranty when the manufacturer’s warranty expires, both warranties begin when you make your purchase — does that make any sense?

Second, the extended warranty might cost so much that it would be cheaper to just pay for repairs or buy a replacement yourself. Since most appliances and electronics lose value quickly, there’s a good chance that buying a used product in a couple of years would cost way less than the three-year warranty. Always research whether it’s worth your trouble before signing up for an extended warranty. And if you decide it is, check out websites like SquareTrade, which offer cheaper warranties on your newly bought electronics and appliances, before signing up for a warranty with the store where you made the purchase.

Scams and rip-offs are everywhere, and with the hustle and bustle of modern life, it’s hard not to fall victim to at least one of them. We created Trim to help you protect yourself from businesses that rely on customers looking the other way. Check out this page to learn more about our services, and sign up for Trim if you could use our help keeping track of finances and saving money.

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