LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Some of us are shelling out hundreds of dollars a month or more for our cable, phone and internet bills.
"The dollar doesn't stretch as far as it used to, and (utility prices) keep going up," Louisville resident Cathy Davis said.
If you want to pull the plug on sky-high bills you're not alone. But can you do it alone?
Surveys find fewer than half of people who try to lower their own cable bill were successful. Enter Ben and Julian Kurland, also known as the Bill Fixers.
"This is very much a business formed on principle," said Julian Kurland, "against these companies' business practices."
Kurland, and his brother Ben, have formed a Nashville-based business on the belief they can beat back rising TV, internet and phone prices for you. And all without any up-front investment. It's called The Bill Fixers. Here's how it works:
You authorize The Bill Fixers to negotiate on your behalf. Often it's as simple as emailing them your bill so they have your account information. Then they go to work.
"And then we call their providers, we do all the waiting on hold, and then negotiating," Ben Kurland said. "And then they save money. It's pretty much as simple as that."
They say it's all that calling and waiting, almost an annoying persistence, that's the key to squeezing every dollar they can out of your provider.
"So in some of these cases, we're calling four or five or six times," Kurland said. "That can take us hours and hours, which is just not something that someone wants to do themselves."
They aren't the only ones with this idea.
A website called BillCutterz offers similar services using the same model: Both companies get half of the money they save you for the first year. After that you keep everything.
The Bill Fixers say they have saved their 5,000 clients almost $1 million. They say their success is based on a few techniques.
First, be incredibly friendly when you call.
"People on the other end of the phone, all they've dealt with all day is people who are furious about their bills," Julian said, adding that a little kindness can go a long way.
The Kurlands also recommend calling during business hours. It will not only cut your wait time, but it will also reduce the likelihood you are rerouted to an overseas customer service rep who might not be able to help you as much.
Also, call back even if you are turned down.
"It's a little surprising," Julian said. "You would think that when you call the first time you can get all the offers and deals you can possibly get, but it turns out every time you call there's a different range of things that might happen. So we want to call until we are sure we've exhausted every possible avenue for savings."
The Bill Fixers stay away from things like insurance and loans. But they will step outside their bread-and-butter services and try and lower satellite radio, newspaper and home security bills. They've even negotiated lower propane prices.
The Kurlands say they have had more than 100 clients in Kentucky and Indiana. The main providers they have dealt with in WAVE Country are AT&T U-Verse, Time Warner Cable and DirecTV.
For AT&T, the Bill Fixers say they save about $360 per year on average. For Time Warner Cable it's $265, and for DirecTV it's $371.71.