17 Jul Secrets the Cell Phone Providers Don’t Want You To Know
Starting to feel like the big cell phone companies have gotten the best of you? It seems that everyone has a frustrating story about countless hours spent on the phone with customer service and agonizing bouts over billing errors and over-charges. Most people feel like they’re losing to the big boys. In this financial climate, it’s more important than ever that every business can hold their own against the cell phone companies.
From my own experiences while working for the major cellular providers, I can tell you first-hand that these companies make billing mistakes. In the last 20 years, I have never completed a bill review that didn’t reveal significant errors, over-charges, or neglect. I can also confirm that there is a ton of information out there that they don’t want you to know. I want to share those secrets with you.
Fighting back is not an easy task for businesses because they just don’t have the ammunition or armor to protect themselves. It is impossible to decipher those complicated bills that come in every month, and with the industry changing so rapidly, keeping up is nearly impossible. But don’t give up and just pay those bills anyway. You really need to know how much you’re over-paying and how to fix it.
There is a way to fight back and to arm yourself from these giants who can take advantage of the vulnerable and inexperienced. No matter how large or small your company is, it’s not too late to bring in the big guns! More and more companies are now retaining the services of a wireless expense management company to help them cut their wireless expenses. These are the experts who live and breathe wireless. They usually have years of experience in the wireless industry and know all the secrets. They make it their business to uncover those secrets and dramatically cut your wireless expenses and save you substantial amounts of money. They are highly skilled at managing wireless accounts and they can give you straight answers and show you exactly what you should be paying for.
And here’s the good news: Some of them work on a contingency and charge you only a very small percentage of the money they find for you! That’s right, they don’t charge you anything if they don’t save you money! One such company is my company, Wireless Resolutions.
Secrets that Cell Phone Providers Don’t Want You To Know
1. Wireless providers make big mistakes all the time. For example, did you ever notice that your business account is set up on a shared minute plan and your bill says you are using a lot more minutes than you think you’re using? You are not sure why it says you are using so many minutes or how it happened, but according to your bill and your provider, your company definitely made all those calls. So, you let it go, because the bill is too complicated and the wireless provider certainly knows what they are doing…right?
The truth is, you probably didn’t use those minutes and this particular error happens more than one would think. In a nutshell, shared plans come with free mobile-to-mobile minutes. I can’t even begin to tell you the amount of bills that I have reviewed where companies were billed for their mobile-to-mobile usage, which should have been free. Many people do not realize that those free minutes are being counted when they tally up your usage. Sometimes you end up paying for those free minutes when they should never have been counted or considered overage. The providers say this is just a glitch in the system and they are working on ways to stop this mistake from happening. I have heard this excuse for the last 7 years.
2. You can cancel your contract without any penalties if your provider raises prices or changes anything about your account. Even if they notify you in advance that they are going to raise a price or fee, they have violated your agreement and the law says you can ask to be released from your contract without paying any penalties as long as you do so within 30 days of the notice. Just recently Sprint imposed an increase in the Regulatory fee which meant that if you were under contract with them, you could cancel that contract without any early termination fees.
3. Wireless salespeople have sales quotas and do not always have your best interest in mind. This is true in virtually every sales-driven industry, and definitely true in cell phone sales. These employees have sales quotas they need to meet to keep their jobs. These quotas often involve increasing the RPU (revenue per unit) on existing accounts to show profits for their company. There is always an incentive for these reps to select a higher monthly plan for you. For example, when you purchase a new phone, most sales reps don’t even earn a commission on the sale until they choose a higher priced rate plan, regardless of what plan might be more suitable for your needs.
If you think you can trust an employee of your wireless provider to watch over your account and to make sure you are paying the lowest possible costs for service, you better think again. You are asking them to give up quota driven commissions and to ignore quotas that are necessary to keep their jobs. With that in mind, I doubt that you will get straight answers or get the lowest cost. If you want honest and straight forward answers about your wireless costs, you may not find them from wireless sales reps or from any employee of your wireless provider for that matter.
4. You can dial 411 for free. Yes, it’s true! Don’t let your cell phone company gouge you with ludicrously high 411 fees; just dial 800-463-6327. You’ll get live operators who will search for your number and connect your call for free.
5. You deserve an explanation for every fee on your bill and getting one will save you money. Every year companies spend almost $1000 in hidden fees that they have no idea how to find! The Federal Communications Commission requires your provider to break down every fee on your bill and tell you where it goes. This includes the FCC tax, which is very misleading because this money never goes to the FCC, the US Treasury, or anywhere but your cell phone company’s pockets!
6. The FCC has capped out the subscriber line charge at $6.50 per line. This is fixed and finite, and applies to each single line as opposed to an entire account. We find this error regularly.
7. Wireless Providers will sometimes offer lower plans than what they advertise. Wireless Providers will sometimes discount existing plans by as much as $20 a month, only if, a customer was completely serious about canceling their contract because of minimal usage. The sad truth is, most people do not have the experience to negotiate for lower rates. If you were to out- right ask a representative if they have lower and less expensive plans, they will tell you no. And unless you have hired an expert who is highly skilled in negotiating with these carriers, you will always get that answer.
8. You may incur roaming charges because your phone is not programmed correctly or it is defective. If you have ever been charged roaming costs, you know how easy it is to rack up the costs quickly on your cell phone. Although, you can’t remember seeing that blinking triangle or roaming alert on your phone, there must have been a time when you hit a roaming area; or maybe not. The sad part to a scenario like this is that you can start roaming in the middle of a phone call and not even know it. How many people look at their phones while they’re talking?
Here is what you don’t know: Most phones are pre-programmed by the providers to roam! Some phones even malfunction in that the roaming indicators have been shut off due to glitches in the main switches, or simply do not work at all. Make sure you read your manual closely to find how to turn off the roaming feature on your new phone or take your phone to a service center if you see roaming charges on your bill but didn’t see an indication of any kind telling you that you were roaming.
9. If you ever pay the asking price for anything in a wireless retail store then you are wasting money! This may be the cardinal rule of wireless. Most retail stores have a 2000% markup on accessories! Most retailers charge you $29.99 for a car charger when they pay only $1.00! More than likely, they buy them by the thousands, so you will not find a good quality charger (i.e. one that will not fry your phone) for $1, but you can certainly do better than what you will pay at a retail store.
Here’s a word to the wise: Be VERY careful about the local “John’s Bargain Cellular Hut”….many indirect agents do not have to play by the same rules as the corporate stores and have been known to sell used equipment, stolen equipment, defective phones or do some deceptive things with your account that will raise your costs.
10. Rebates- Ok, so nobody likes rebates, and if everyone actually sent in their rebates, companies would stop offering them. It’s because many people do not send them in at all or they fill them out incorrectly that companies continue to offer rebates. Keep in mind, that it is just extra profit for them when you don’t send it in! Over 38% of all rebate coupons are not honored by the wireless providers. Why do you think they tell you that it will take 8-12 weeks to get your money? Because they are hoping you will forget about the rebate all together. Or they will reject the first one hoping that you will not take the time to send it in again.
11. Activation Fees – Wireless Providers are notorious for charging high fees for initiating service with their company. Right now they are charging as high as $50 dollars per line in some areas of the country. These wireless companies really want your business, they really want you to spend all this money with them and they want you to sign a contract….but they want you to pay them for the privilege to do these things. The truth is, you never have to pay an activation fee.
12. Batteries – Cell phone batteries are about $60 on average in a retail store…they are only about $10 online. Amazon has the best prices consistently on batteries just like you would get at the wireless store. These prices are all less than 55% of what you will pay at the store for the SAME THING!!! And I am talking about OEM batteries, not the generic ones.
13. Moisture Indicators– All phones have moisture indicators that will tell if the phone was wet. But always ask a service technician to show you proof of the moisture. If the phone did get wet, you will see it clearly when the technician opens the phone. Some service technicians earn commission when they upgrade or replace your phone so there is an incentive to selling you a new phone versus repairing your old one.
But even though you do not remember getting your phone wet, suppose you do see moisture when the technician opens your phone. It is important to remember that moisture can happen from humidity as well, so don’t take your phone into the bathroom while you shower as the steam can both mess the phone up and turn the indicator to show it got wet. Same goes true for sweat at the gym…keep the phone away from all types of moisture. If you do get it wet, try removing the battery and putting the phone and battery in a zip-lock bag with about 1 cup of dry rice overnight…the rice will absorb the moisture and this may bring the phone back to life.
14. Company Discounts – The providers do not want you to know this but there is a pretty good chance that your company is affiliated with a larger company that has a contract with a specific wireless carrier. That means that you are eligible for additional discounts on your wireless bill. These discounts are usually anywhere from 10% to 25% off your monthly bill depending on the size of company and the contract(s) they have negotiated. For example: If you are a flooring company and use Mohawk products for your installations, you are eligible for a 21% discount on your account. If you are an Electrical contracting company and use Siemens products your account is eligible for 18%. There are thousands available but good luck getting this information from your provider.
15. Billing Overages – So we have all been there, we open up our wireless bill and it is SEVERAL hundred dollars more than we thought it was going to be! I have seen bills that were over $5,000 for one Internet connection card for one month because it was used to download tons of information from a web site. I actually saw one card that had $3000 in charges because the user took it on a trip to Canada which is not included in the plan. Don’t just accept overages for what they are. If you do have an explanation for those overages call your provider and get one! If you have hired an expert who is highly skilled in negotiating, you may be even be excused from paying these charges.
16. Bogus Text Messages– Did you know that some of those little.20 cent charges for text messages may have actually come from your wireless provider? They have been caught numerous times sending out a message to their customers about a new promotion and charging you for it! Sometimes you might even be charged for text messages that were never sent or received.
17. Your minutes count while listening to someone’s voice mail prompts. Did you know that when you dial a number and connect to someone’s voice mail and then you hear all the prompts telling you what to do next…..you are using your minutes? Connect immediate when you hear the person’s voice by hitting the number 1 key on your phone. This will bypass all the prompts and put you right to the beep so you can leave your message. You may think that this few seconds is no big deal…it brought in an extra $13 million last year to the providers.
18. RIP-OFF ALERT: Cell phone companies have been engaging in a practice that’s currently being investigated. The industry is making huge money doing 3rd-party billing for companies who claim they have sold you “services” – services such as ring tones, games, horoscopes, videos, joke-of-the-day texts, etc. Here is why your cell phone company doesn’t bring it to your attention. Your provider gets such a large commission for doing this kind of billing, that they’ve been purposely deceptive about the practice.
Knowledge is power
These are just some of the better kept secrets the providers don’t want you to know. At Wireless Resolutions, we make it our priority to know all the secrets so that we can make sure our clients are always paying the lowest price possible for the best service their provider can offer.
How much are you over-paying for your company’s wireless service?
If you could save 50% off your wireless bills, how would you know? We save customers thousands of dollars each year on their wireless bills with our Cost Reduction and Expense Management programs. Don’t continue to wonder if the big boys are getting the best of you. We can tell you exactly how much you’re overpaying and get that money back for you. We offer a complete cost reduction bill analysis at no cost. If we can’t show you a dramatic savings on your wireless costs, then we
By Marty L Taylor