How will I be represented during negotiations?

When BillFixers calls to negotiate your bill, we’ll contact your provider as the account holder. The most common example: Your name is Jane Doe, and your bill is sent to you, Jane Doe. We’ll call and say “Hi, this is Jane Doe” to kick off the negotiations. We find this is the best way to get savings without any hassle, but it’s not necessary if you’d rather we don’t.

Why do you pretend to be me?

The basic idea here is that only you are authorized to speak to your provider about your bill. You can’t just call up on somebody else’s account and make changes to it. That’s a completely reasonable rule to prevent somebody doing something without your permission. The problem is: we’re not you. And since we’re costing the provider money when we negotiate, we can’t just call and say “Hey this is BillFixers; please make an exception” because they don’t want to help us out.

So, the easiest solution is we just call up, pretend to be you, and everybody wins. It’s the same thing that personal assistants do for rich people, or that you might do for a spouse if they’re the official name on the account. That way, the whole thing can be done without any extra work on either of our parts.

Is that all kosher?

Yep! To be safe, we’ve had attorneys double check that we’re in the clear. The reason it’s okay is that you give us permission. When you sign up, you agree to our terms. That creates a limited agency agreement between us that gives us permission to contact your specific providers on your behalf for this specific purpose.1 That also mean that you are fully entitled to rescind that permission at any time.

Are there any potential downsides here?

Not that we’ve ever encountered. We only use your name to contact the providers you specifically authorize us to, and only as long as you give us permission. We won’t contact anybody else with your information and if you cancel service or tell us to stop, we’ll make no more calls going forward.

The only weird situation we’ve run into was a representative from the provider feeling particularly sleuthy, who tried to “catch us” in the act of negotiating your bill (oh no, how dare we save you money!) So, very rarely, this might result in that rep putting all of us onto a call together which might lead to a weird Spartacus moment. If that actually did happen again, you’d be welcome to explain the situation and that we have your permission, since there’s nothing actually wrong with it.

I’d rather you not call with my name. Can you still negotiate?

Absolutely! Our goal is to help you out and that means making sure you’re happy with the way we’re doing things. There’s an alternate method of doing this. You can contact your provider and authorize our negotiator as an Authorized User on your account. One tricky part of this: there are different levels of Authorized Users, so you’ll need to add a user with the ability to make account changes (like adding discount) which will generally be the highest level user. The other way of doing this is to set up a three way call with us and the provider. You get on the call, speak to the representative, tell them the situation, and then hand off the call to us. We sometimes make multiple calls to get the best deals. Between that and hold times, you’ll need to be free for 30 minutes to a few hours during business hours to pull that off. We know that’s annoying, which is why we do it the main way.

1. Of course, attorneys would also probably advise us to make sure to tell you: we’re not your attorney, this isn’t legal advice, yadayadayada—if you’re going to start your own bill negotiation company, you should ask your own attorneys first!

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