I'm a huge advocate of calling your utilities to ask for rate reductions. But some people are uncomfortable making these sorts of calls. It would be helpful if these folks had a way of using the internet to find better deals. WhiteFence is a web-based service that allows users to do just that. From the about page:
WhiteFence is a free service that helps people who are moving or looking to find the best deals on phone, internet, television, electricity, natural gas and other home services. By simply entering a street address into the secure site, people looking to save money or start new service can find the most comprehensive list of plans available for their specific address from over 400 nationally recognized partners.
WhiteFence targets two types of users:
- Those who are moving from one address to another. WhiteFence bills itself as a one-stop source for connecting utilities. (And even promises that you can keep your existing phone number after a move.)
- Those who are shopping around for a better deal.
WhiteFence also offers a price guarantee: “Our Best Price Guarantee means that you will receive the best price that each of our participating service providers offers (online or otherwise) for a product or service at your particular location.”
I was intrigued by the idea of WhiteFence, but it didn't have a lot of info for the Portland area. I plugged in our address, and the only deal it suggested was bundled internet/phone/television from Qwest. None of the price-points worked for me. Out of curiosity, I contacted a WhiteFence spokesperson to find out more about the service:
J.D.: Are there particular regions or cities for which WhiteFence is best suited? Who is most likely to benefit from the service?
Spokesperson: Some cities have a broader array of services available than others, depending on what the local service providers decide to offer through WhiteFence.com. That being said, WhiteFence does offer the most comprehensive online service for comparison shopping of home services nationwide. In some states, WhiteFence has added value. For example, in Texas people can search for energy prices which changes frequently due to the de-regulated energy market in that state.
J.D.: What does WhiteFence have planned for the future? Are there features coming that would be of interest to Get Rich Slowly readers?
Spokesperson: WhiteFence is planning to add a â€œdeal of the weekâ€ feature on its site, which will point customers to the best current promotions available. Additionally, WhiteFence is planning to add local community information so if you are moving and looking to switch your utilities, you'll also be able to look up neighborhood amenities, school and crime information for example.
I'm intrigued. Though WhiteFence can't save me any money right now, I've bookmarked it for future use. It cannot hurt to check back every few months, right? Perhaps they'll come up with some additional deals for my neighborhood.
Have you used WhiteFence (or a similar service) before? Does it offer a variety of suggestions for your location? Are the prices better than what you're currently paying? Or would you rather get your rate reductions the old-fashioned way: by calling and asking?