The Exact Script I Used To Negotiate My Annual Credit Card Fee.
If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.” – Nora Roberts
If you follow me on social media, you may have seen last week I negotiated my annual credit card fee. I am not normally one to question fees and charges, and often just pay them and move onto the next thing. But I’ve been doing a lot of work recently on my money mindset, and what money means to me. I’ve also been working on developing my negotiating skills, and am actually having a lot of fun with it. In the past, I would have been too shy and polite to ask or question, and would just be willing to accept that the price is the price. I have found a new love and appreciation for the world of negotiating. I view it as a game, and it’s a game I now love to play.
Whilst I still have a lot to learn in the negotiating space, I’ve learned a lot from reading books and surrounding myself from people who do it incredibly well. You definitely don’t have to be nasty. You also don’t have to lose your cool, or raise your voice to get your point across. It’s actually the quiet calm where the power truly lies. This is what I have observed and experienced, anyhow.
So this brings me to the situation last week. I checked my credit card statement, and noticed that I had been charged my annual $450 fee for my credit card. This is not normally a fee I would have had an issue with. I use my credit card well, earn lots of points, pay my bill on time every month and the result? I earn Qantas points which enables me to upgrade my flights and obtain free travel insurance whenever I go overseas. However, with the current situation and not being able to travel, I felt it wasn’t fair or reasonable to pay for this fee (it is $450, not $40 we are talking about here). So I thought it would be worth picking up the phone, calling the credit card company, and seeing what they could do for me.
I have to credit Ramit Sethi, finance guru and author of the best-selling book I Will Teach You To Be Rich. In this book, Ramit shares some scripts for different financial situations and requests, and I followed his guidance on how to negotiate with credit card companies.
Representative 1: Hello, welcome to _________. How can I help you today?
Lara: Hello, I noticed I was charged my $450 annual credit card fee. I would like to have this charge removed please.
Representative 1: Yeah, unfortunately that’s not something we’re able to do. We’ve had lots of customers call and ask the same thing, and it’s not something we do.
Lara: Thank you, however given the current circumstances, I do not believe it is fair or reasonable to expect your customers to pay the full fee, when they cannot gain access to the full benefits. I’d like to request for this fee to be waived.
Representative 1: I’m sorry, it’s against our policy. It’s just not something we can do. I would be happy to talk to you about some other products and offerings we have available?
Lara: Thank you, but I’m not interested in other products or offerings. I have been a loyal customer for 3 years now and pay my statement on time every month. I’d hate for this to drive me away to other providers. I would like to request to have this fee waived.
Representative 1: (pauses). Well, I just had a customer who has been with us for 40 years. He asked for the same thing and we said no. I’m sorry, it’s just not something we do.
Lara: Ok, in that case, I would like you to escalate this call, because I’m not satisfied with this as an outcome.
Representative 1: Ok, sure. Let me transfer you.
Lara: Thank you.
5 minutes passes.
Representative 1: Thank you for holding. I’m going to transfer you to my Manager now.
Lara: Ok, thank you.
Representative 2: Hi Lara.
Lara: Hi __________ . As I advised ________ , I noticed I was charged my $450 annual credit card fee. I would like to have this fee waived please.
Representative 2: I understand you would like to have this fee waived, however as ________ advised, it is against our policy and not something we are able to do.
Lara: I understand that, however I don’t think it is reasonable or fair for customers to pay the full fee when they are not able to obtain the full benefits. I normally don’t mind paying this fee, as it provides me with Qantas points and access to free travel insurance, however I have not travelled overseas since October last year, and given the current circumstances, I don’t know when I will be able to travel again. I hope you can understand that.
Representative: I do understand that. We do have some other cards which don’t have any annual fees. If you like, I can transfer you to one of those cards and if so, we can then waive the annual fee.
Lara: Thank you, however I am not interested in other cards. I would like to retain my current card. What else are you able to do?
Representative: Ok, well if you’re not interested in other card options, there is one other thing we can do. We will not be able to waive the fee, however we can add 30,000 Qantas points to your account. Is that something you would be happy with?
Lara: (quickly googles the value – 30,000 Qantas points equates to roughly $500). Yes, that is something I would be happy with. Thank you.
One thing I have learned is if you don’t ask, the answer will always be no. A 20 minute phone call enabled me to walk away with 30,000 Qantas points, equivalent to $500. If I didn’t make the phone call, I would have just paid the fee and received nothing.
One thing I have learned from this experience (and what one of my wonderful followers shared with me), is that you have more negotiating power when you ask for the fee to be waived before the charge is processed. I have made a note in my calendar to do this before my next annual charge comes around.
What are some of the strategies you have used to negotiate with credit card companies or other fees and charges? I would love to hear your negotiating strategies and tips, let me know in the comments below!