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A former Verizon sales rep, let’s call him Steve, wrote to us recently offering insider advice to all Consumerist readers. We were excited because by knowing how the sales force at Verizon are compensated, consumers can get an edge when haggling over a new phone. What? Haggling!? Over a phone!? Yes, even you can do it. Verizon Steve confesses all he knows, from the simple to the sublime…:

Never get a 2-year contract. “The only benefit to a 2 yr contract is a $50 savings on your phone. Its not worth it. Take the $50 and get a 1 year then you can upgrade to a new phone every 10 months.”

Verizon reps get tons of money from new lines and certain accessories and text packages, take advantage of this. They won’t let a new customer walk out the door. “Play hardball, they will do anything to get the new lines. VZW makes $ off the service, not the phones. Tell them you don’t want to mail in the rebate. There does come a point of diminishing returns. For example, if you walked in and wanted a $39 plan and a free Treo 700, not gonna happen. But I have given away almost every non-PDA phone in the store for the right deal. Also tell them you will buy the accessories, and text package. Trust me here, these are 2 of the biggest metrics for the reps. Return the accessories the next day and call customer care to cancel your text package.”

Mention the lost or stolen program to get 25% off a new phone, even if you’re under contract. Who’s to say you didn’t lose it?

If you’re on a rate plan of $59.99 or higher, you can get “a new phone (and new contract) for the discounted price after 12 months.”

Insurance is a rip-off. It costs too much and has a $50 deductible.

Tell them you’ll sign up for the Unlimited Data Plan with your Treo. “Speaking of Treos, often they offer an extra $100 off if you get the Unlimited data plan. Get it.. Save $100 and cancel it the next day if you don’t want it. The leverage here is amazing also because that high end data package counts as a new activation in a roundabout way for the rep. None of the data packages are contractual. I use to tell the customers this just to save them $.”

Reps don’t get as much money if you’re still in a contract. If you upgrade on the phone with Verizon, the store reps won’t be as motivated to help you.

Ask for a loyalty credit on the phone before going to the store. “One way to work the system if you have New Every 2 and are out of contract is to call customer care, have them put you back into contract, but ask for a loyalty credit (up to $60 off your next months bill), then go into the retail store and use your New Every 2. The two credits can’t be combined and that is the only way to get both. I’ve never seen this not work, although they could technically say that you already got a credit, but the system are not that informative and I have never seen that happen. Just make sure you know the contract rules for VZW in your state, and make sure you go to the store in time to cancel the new contract in case you cant use the NE2.”

Work for Cingular, Verizon, Sprint or T-Mobile and want to confess? Write to us at tips [at] consumerist [dot] com.—MEGHANN MARCO


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Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Consumerist.