Special Report: Lower Your Interest Rate

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - According to recent research from credit reporting agency Experian, the average American is now responsible for $17,000 worth of debt, and that doesn't include mortgages.

Combine that with the fact that many credit card companies are raising rates without much notice, and that can lead to even deeper debt for consumers.  So how do you get out of that hole?

The ConsumerWatch team conducted a little test that may just help.

We hit Peachtree Mall with a cell phone and a script and gave it to consumers to see if they could lower their credit card's interest rate on the spot!  Here's what it said:

"I'm a good customer, but I received some offers in the mail from other companies with lower percentage rates. I was really wanting to lower the rate on my card, can you help me?"

The process worked better for some than others.  Shalu Alex says she was surprised when she called her credit card company and got her rate lowered from 21.99 to 14.24% in less than five minutes.

"I never really thought of it cause I didn't really care, I mean, I care, because I want to save money but that's enough to change it," says Alex.

It wasn't quite as simple for shopper Tandi Morris.  In fact, she was quite frustrated when her company refused to lower her rate and didn't provide much explanation.

"With the economy the way it is, I want to have a credit card with someone who cares about me and I, what I'm going through right now, it's hard for everyone, but don't tell me within five seconds of being on the phone with me that you're not negotiating at all!"

According to Consumer Credit Counseling's Lisa Scrivner, making the call is certainly worth a try, but some customers are more likely to get results.

"They're more likely to be willing to help them if they've been with them for several years, they've made on time payments, so they have a good track record with them," says Scrivner.