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How To Save Money on Cell Phone Service

November 2nd, 2006 · No Comments

I remember back in 1994 when I purchased my first cellular phone. The thing was practically a brick and had little battery life. I paid $1.00/minute for calls and the plan selection was minimal. Now, things have changed drastically due to advances in technology, the installation of more wireless towers and fierce competition among providers. For cell phone carriers, the money is all in the monthly service charges – that’s why they often give away phones, minutes, chargers or any other hardware free. Several tips are below:

Tips for new cell phone service:

  • When signing on with a company ask for a free car charger, headset, case or face plate
  • Do not pay a setup fee! If they claim it is mandatory tell them about a competitor’s offer
  • Ask which phones are free
  • Check for family sharing plans – multiple phones on one plan with a “bucket” of minutes to share
  • Ask for first-month-only bonus minutes
  • Ask for discounts for your employer

Tips for existing cell phone service:

  • Call monthly to see if a better plan exists for less money or more minutes
  • If a better plan does not exist, tell them you want more minutes or you are leaving their service
  • If you got “dinged” for major roaming charges, admit your mistake and ask for a credit for that one month
  • Ask for referral minutes for bringing new customers to their company
  • Ask for discounts for your employer
  • Every couple months threaten to leave the service if they don’t give you some perks – tell them you aren’t worried about an early termination fee. They still won’t want to lose you!

From what I understand inside the industry, once you mention that you are contemplating “jumping ship” and leaving their service they transfer you to the keep-this-customer-at-all-costs department. Or you may get a renewed attitude from person to whom you are already talking. Even if they get you for a $175 early-termination fee on a $50/month plan they just lost $1200 over two years! How long would the manager of a cell-phone customer service department tolerate their workers letting customers go at $1200 a pop? Not long. Trust me. They will throw you a bone. Sometimes a very tasty one.

Also, you’ll notice the “ask for discounts for your employer” section is mentioned twice. My brother told me his employer negotiated nationwide deals on many consumer products and services. He called his cell phone provider, told them his employer’s company name asked for a discount. They gave him 15% off his monthly bill – EVERY MONTH! Then it was my turn. I called my cell phone provider (Verizon Wireless) asked them if they offered a discount for my employer. The first customer service person with whom I spoke said “Sir, I have no control over your monthly bill. That is handled by our national sales accounts managers.” So, I kept my cool and politely asked to be transferred to that number. After speaking with the national account manager, she informed me that YES even my company offered a discount. My discount was 6% off my monthly bill. Again, one phone call saved me money with very little effort.

Tags: Money

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