A story from Martin
This happened years ago now but the haggling technique works just as well today.
I was an Orange (now EE) customer and preferred to remain one, as the connection at home and work was good. Yet Orange's packages weren't the market's cheapest.
This is an edited version of my call.
Martin: "Hi, you have a price match promise. Three offers 500 inclusive cross-network minutes, (ie, calling other networks) for £30/month, yet I'm paying that for just 200 minutes with you."
Orange: (as expected) "Sorry Mr Lewis, our price promise doesn't cover Three, so we can't offer you that tariff."
Martin: "That's simply not good enough. While I want to stick with you, unless you can offer me something better, I'm going to have to leave."
Orange: "Let me put you through to our specialist disconnections department and see if we can find any way to improve it."
Then I repeated my request to disconnections.
Orange 'disconnections': "I think we can help, we can match that Three tariff for the same price." (Note: Orange's own 400-minute package cost £50/month.)
Martin: "That's not part of your normal price match plan?"
Orange disconnections: "Nope, it's a special offer for valued customers." (Sub-text: 'We'll pull out all the stops if we're going to lose you'.
After that I asked for more text messages and got a bundle on top, then a new phone and was asked: "What do you want? Pick any." So I opted for a snazzy, tiny camera phone, with radio and 3G (hi-tech at the time) – all, of course, at no extra charge.
While my story is about Orange and a few years old now, this works in exactly the same way with other networks today. There are no hard and fast rules, but a bit of chutzpah and a smile (try it, it's noticeable in your voice, even on the phone) works wonders. It's a game, with huge gains if you succeed and no loss if you fail.