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It never hurts to ask for a refund

Bankrate: Are you frugal in the rest of your life?

Brenda: Oh, absolutely. I do a lot of comparative shopping -- if I see something in the stores I like, then I'll check the price online. In fact, just recently my husband saw the infomerical for the Ab Lounge, a piece of exercise equipment used to work your stomach muscles in place of doing sit-ups. I think it was going for about $149. I checked online and they were going anywhere from $89 to $149. I found one Web site that had a clearance on it for $39.95, so, naturally, I bought it.  

Bankrate: It always helps to shop around.

Brenda: Absolutely, and I like to look around for little tips and secrets on everything from shopping and home improvement to health care. I like learning little secrets.

Bankrate: You never know what will help. Do you have any other money-saving tips for travelers?

Brenda: I think this is the best one, just because I've saved so much money doing it. And the amount has been pretty substantial just because of how far the price can come down at the last minute. Prices can be rock-bottom at the last minute if there are seats available. Now that I think about it -- it worked for a friend of mine, too. He booked a trip to Denver and in 24 hours the price had been cut in half. He called the airline, I think it was Delta, and they honored it. And he got about $200 back.

It works for hotels, too. I booked a hotel online once and tried the exact same thing when there was a difference in the rate. I got resistance from them, too. They quoted me their nonrefundable change-or-cancellation policy and told me that there was a charge for changing a reservation, but I had to remind them that I was doing neither but getting the best rate.

Bankrate: People are sometimes embarrassed to speak up and ask for a refund but it's clearly worth it. How do you get over that?

Brenda: Being embarrassed will cost you a lot of money. You have to be bold and ask. And, I think that's why a lot of people don't know about it -- it doesn't hurt to ask.

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-- Posted: Feb. 21, 2007
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