26 Extremelyyyyyy Useful Industry Hacks That Companies Don't Want Customers To Know

Reddit user Ferro_Roux asked the community: "What's a hack in your industry that customers aren't supposed to find out?" People quickly took to the thread to share their most noteworthy industry secrets. Here's what people revealed:

1."When I worked as a pharmacy tech, I spent a lot of time calling insurance companies and waiting on hold while the world burned around me. One time, I got impatient with the voice recognition bot because it kept hearing background noise and made selections impossible, so I started cursing it out. If you say the F word a few times in a short span, the bot recognizes you as an angry customer and will switch you to a representative quickly. I did this multiple times to a lot of strange looks from my coworkers until I explained the hack."


"My mom did this out of complete frustration, not knowing it would work. She does it whenever she's tired of navigating automated menus that don't help. You can also interrupt the automated voice by repeatedly saying 'representative' or 'customer service' to get out of the automated menu and in the queue to speak with someone."


2."Hotel prices are negotiable. If you go to a hotel and show them a Booking.com or Expedia price for their location that's lower, they can price match. They would also much rather you do it that way because third-party websites are a pain with anything customer service-related. Did you book a king room but end up getting two queens? Good luck with your hour-long call with them, which was just to talk to a representative in another country. If the front desk does it, beep bop boop, and two seconds later, you have a key to a new room."


Hand holding a key card about to insert it into a card reader on a modern door handle
Michael Kai / Getty Images

3."If you buy flights through Spirit at the airport, one of the random fees (it's called the user fee or something like that) doesn't apply, so they cost about half as much. I've flown round trip to Chicago for $30, Houston for $45, Miami for $50, etc."


4."I used to work in the floral industry. Don't call a large national florist. Look up a local florist in your recipient's area and call them directly. Most have websites to help you choose, and you'll save money on delivery and service fees, which can go towards a nicer arrangement. Also, unless you order flowers regularly, the membership/loyalty program is a scam and hard to cancel."


A person arranges a bouquet of flowers on a wooden table next to a laptop. The image relates to work and money, suggesting a job or business in flower arranging
Oscar Wong / Getty Images

5."You can rent a nice casket for the funeral and be buried in a cheaper one."


6."If you or a teenager you know are admitted to an expensive college and their financial aid package isn't enough, write them and ask them for more money. Mention the other schools you were admitted to and the fact that you received strong financial packages from them. DO NOT mention specific numbers unless it's a named scholarship, like 'presidential' or 'provost.' At least five of my students this year got between $10,000 and $20,000 extra in scholarship money just by soliciting for it."


View of a university campus courtyard with people walking and socializing, surrounded by large academic buildings
Barry Winiker / Getty Images

7."If you use Libby to download ebooks from your library to your Kindle, you can turn it to airplane mode and keep the books as long as you want. The next person in line is not affected."


8."I used to work in credit cards. If you disputed a charge for less than $75 (not as fraud), we would just credit you the money. Most of the time, we wouldn't even investigate it past the initial chargeback. You still got your money back if we didn't win the case. However, if we find out you've figured this out, we will stop giving you the credit unless we win. We've even closed accounts that took advantage of it. But if you want your money back as a one-time thing or whatever, you'll be fine."


A stack of assorted credit cards fanned out on a surface, representing various financial options available in the market
Peter Dazeley / Getty Images

9."Not sure if your homeowner's insurance will cover something? Apply this one simple rule: Was the damage caused by a sudden and one-time occurrence? If the answer is yes, you're covered 99% of the time. If the answer is no, 99% of the time, you're not covered. This advice applies to the US."


"And, might I add from my own experience, don't call the claims line at the insurance company. I was calling to see if I needed to file a claim and if I was covered, and it was considered a claim. I had two of those (both resulting in no payout) and was dropped by my homeowners. Call your agent, not the insurance company."


10."If you know you're shipping something within a few hours drive of you, always pay for the cheaper shipping option. The 'premium' shipping option is just a markup if you know you're sending something nearby. It will arrive the same day regardless."


A man in glasses delivers packages to a woman at her front door adorned with a wreath. The woman wears a sweater and smiles while receiving the packages
10'000 Hours / Getty Images

11."If you do not have health insurance (yay, America), there are FREE pharmacy discount cards you can get that will DRASTICALLY reduce the cost of your monthly medications. I learned about this from my little sister after I had been spending over $100 a month on a 30-day supply of generic Adderall for three years straight after losing my health insurance after my divorce. Now, I pay around $12. There are MULTIPLE pharmacy discount cards, and they all offer different discounts for different pharmacies, so I have signed up with pretty much all of them."

Last year, I checked my pharmacy's annual spending/savings amount and saved over $2,000 using these discount cards. Just make sure before you pick up your medication that you check online to see which discount card will give you the biggest discount. They often stay the same, but sometimes, for some meds, it changes. This also applies to PET medications! Many medications prescribed for your pet at your vet's office are human medications that can be filled at your local pharmacy, and you can also use one of the pharmacy discount cards on top of it!"


12."When a car salesperson offers you a 'premium car care' package, don't buy it. It's a scam. Say you're buying a new car and I offer you the premium car care package. It'll only cost you X amount of money per month, but every time you come to the dealership, you get the following: a premium car wash (we hose it down, not a proper car wash), interior detailing and rejuvenation (we use compressed air to make the dust go away, sometimes a man uses a wet paper towel), and a functions check and clock synchronization (we check if all the lights work, heater and A/C work and set up the clock if it's wrong)."

"Also, summer and winter inspections and free wiper fluid refills are only done once per season. We check tire thread, visually check tire pressure, look at temperature gauges to ensure the car isn't overheating, and add water in the summer or a tiny amount of wiper fluid in winter. We visually inspect brake disks to see if worn-out brake pads do not scratch them. We also offer assistance when you are on the move, but all it is is us calling you a tow truck at your expense if it's during business hours. Basically, we charge for simple things you can do yourself. Also, if a car dealership sells you a used car and tells you it has been fully serviced, take it to your local mechanic and have it serviced properly."


A line of white SUVs and cars parked in a lot in front of a modern commercial building
Apriori1 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

13."Most industries have retention teams because it costs 10x more to get a new customer than it costs to keep one you have. So, if you call up and complain/threaten to cancel every other time they raise your rates, they'll probably give you the introductory rate. Just be aware you might have to switch."


14."Therapy cash pay rates are negotiable at many private practices if you are uninsured or your insurance does not cover behavioral health."


A person holding a clipboard and taking notes while another person sits across, suggesting a professional consultation or interview setting
Nickylloyd / Getty Images

15."I worked for Wells Fargo doing customer service on mortgages. If you use the keywords lawyer, media, or government, we're trained to escalate you immediately to the highest level of customer service. Background: If you call for a question about your mortgage, there are five tiers of representatives. If you call and say, 'Give me a manager,' you'll only get to tier three. The media/lawyer/government statements get you escalated to tier six of salaried customer service representatives, who will be given a ticket to fully research your complaint and prepare a summary. You may not like the result, but they will do enough due diligence on your question to ensure they won't be sued."


16."Hospital bills are negotiable, to a degree. Always ask for an itemized bill and put some effort into analyzing it."


A hospital hallway with a nurse station visible at the end. Two individuals are seen working at the station
Er Productions Limited / Getty Images

17."At GameStop, if you buy a pre-owned controller and get the warranty, you can return a year later, get a fresh pre-owned controller, and just pay the warranty cost again. This used to work with new controllers, but the policy changed."


18."If a beer doesn’t turn out quite how you wanted it to, just turn it into something else. Sometimes, that’s just calling it something else or adding something to it. Not every habanero stout and coffee blonde were meant to be those beers."


A hand holds a glass filled with beer under a tap at a bar, with the bar's taps and blurred lights in the background
Cavan Images / Getty Images/Cavan Images RF

19."Any Marriott booking made partially with points, with a three-day cancellation policy, can be canceled the same day of the booking without any fees."


"For any reservation made with the hotel (no third-party bookings or pre-paids), you can use the workaround of calling and saying your travel date changed. Most places can bump it back for no fee. Then, if you're outside of the fee window, call and cancel later. They do track your bookings, so don't make it a habit, but it's a good hail mary in case you need to avoid a cancellation fee at the last minute. It isn't 100% guaranteed to work, but most times, it will. At least it did prepandemic when I was still in hospitality."


20."I’m a singer, and I book a lot of weddings and corporate/general gigs. If you come to me directly rather than going through an agency, I can plan and run all the music whether you want just me and a guitar, a full band, or a DJ for after party. It can literally save you thousands. Some agencies put a 40%-60% mark-up on my services, and I ask them for more than I’d charge someone privately. If you’re looking for entertainment, try and contact someone directly."


A hand holds a microphone, possibly preparing for a speech or interview
Jacobs Stock Photography Ltd / Getty Images

21."This was six or seven years ago, so it may not be relevant, but when I worked at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, the higher-ups were so tunnel-visioned on positive customer reviews that if there were any problem at all, we would write off anything from gas to whole days of rent. We had a few repeat customers who would catch on and habitually complain about dumb stuff to get parts of the bill discounted. Only a rating of 'completely satisfied' counted, and it was tied to bonuses and promotions, so it was a huge incentive to make people happy."


22."I'm a dog trainer, and this is a hack we want people to understand. One reason we can get your dog to do something so fast is because we use a high rate of reinforcement. Example: I'm training your dog to walk on a leash without pulling, and we practice in your driveway. I feed the dog 20 tiny pieces of food by my knee as we walk to the end of the driveway. The first time a client tries the exercise, they may use five. The mechanics of the exercise look easy, but it takes time to get used to. And when people practice independently, they do other things instead of focusing on the exercise. They forget how often they must reinforce the dog for doing the right thing. If they do the exercise for two minutes during each walk, with a high rate of reinforcement (RoR), that may be all it takes. And once the dog learns, you can gradually slow down the RoR."


Person in blue jeans with a yellow lab puppy wearing a red harness sitting and looking up at them in a grassy outdoor setting
Lios / Getty Images

23."You will almost always get a better rate/term on a car loan if you go directly to the finance company. Even if you get the quotes from the dealer and take those quotes to those lenders, you will likely find a better deal. Always bring your own financing to the car lot. Always. Source: I work in indirect lending. It is my business to make money off of people who finance at the dealership."


24."In the tech industry, one 'hack' customers aren't supposed to find out is how much they can save by avoiding brand new releases and instead purchasing slightly older models or refurbished devices. The previous year's model often has nearly identical specifications to the latest release but comes at a significantly lower price. Additionally, refurbished devices are rigorously tested and certified, providing like-new performance with a warranty, making them an excellent cost-effective option. For software, many companies offer free or heavily discounted versions of their products to students, educators, or non-profits, so always check for those discounts before purchasing at full price!"


A person in a business suit holds and looks at a smartphone, suggesting a professional setting. No names or notable figures are identifiable
Laylabird / Getty Images

25."I've been getting stuck in many automated loops here lately. The quick way out, I've discovered, is saying 'past due.' Oh, if you're paying them, they definitely want to chat with you. I'm never past due, but I say this option every time, and it gets to someone who can help me. Generally, it's the exact same people anyway."


26.And: "Working at a big insurance company (one of the biggest), they relied on people not calling and complaining. I'm pretty sure that's where a lot of their profit lived. If you think something is odd, definitely do call, even if you end up on hold forever. It's frustrating as hell, but it can save you a ton of money."


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Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.