Just By Asking, I Saved Us $7.50

Back in June, when my wife was going into the hospital to deliver our second baby, I was all about priorities.  Was she comfortable?  Would she get in her room right away?  Would they have her midwife paged?  Could we avoid paying for the phone?

Ever the frugal daddy-to-be, I remembered that last time we were there, we made one phone call during the entire course of the hospital stay, and payed a few bucks as a standard phone charge.  Figuring we could just avoid the phone charge, I asked them if they could disable the phone for outgoing calls.

The nurse told me that they couldn’t, and that it was a bundled charge with the TV.

Bummer.  Kind of a rip-off really, because I’m sure that they know that pretty much everybody is going to watch TV if possible.

Anyways, when the bill came, I saw that the nurse had been lying mistaken.  The telephone and TV charges were listed as separate line items.  The TV charge was $11.50 (still a rip-off, but whatever) and the phone charge was $7.50.

I called and explained that we had requested to have the phone disabled and that we didn’t make any outside phone calls.  Before I even asked, she said ‘OK, well, I’ll go ahead and take the $7.50 off’.


Since those items aren’t FSA card eligible, this was coming straight out of our bank account.  While this isn’t going to put us on the road to riches, I did figure out that this is roughly five or six days worth of diapers for the new baby.  Considering the number of diapers a newborn goes through, I’m mighty glad I made that call!

When was the last time you thought to ask for something removed from your bill?  Was it successful?

8 thoughts on “Just By Asking, I Saved Us $7.50”

  1. I have often called to ask about discount and charges if they can be applied or waived. I posted recent experience here: http://livelargefrugal.blogspot.com/2011/07/all-you-have-to-do-is-ask.html.
    I have also asked credit card companys and banks to waive fees since I have been a good customer for years. They will waive late charges and such if you have been on time for many years. Also, if you have proof of things that should not be or not your mistake, most places will give you the money back.

  2. That's awesome. When I remember, I try to ask for teacher discounts before checking out at stores that carry office or teaching supplies. It never hurts to ask!

  3. As I get old(er), I notice that is all it takes! Years ago, I went in for some surgery and the lab technician took my blood twice. The hospital bill reflected both as charges. I called and asked why? There was no reason so they refunded the $153 to me. Now I always ask restaurants if they offer senior discounts. They normally do not offer it to you unless you ask!

  4. I never knew the hospitals charge for the phone in the room or the TV. It really should be part of your daily rate.

    But then again, I don't think I've ever seen an itemized hospital bill for our few hospitalizations. The insurance company just pays and we pay our copay.

  5. Good lessons here: read the bill, be skeptical if your gut feeling tells you to be, and don't hesitate to ask.

    Hey, $7.50 may not seem like a lot, but it all adds up, right?

  6. I think that a lot of people would have just let it go. It's good that you were paying attention to details when the bill came.

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