WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | News

Smart phone hidden savings

For more on the analysis

done by cheapism.com: 

www.cheapism.com/cell-phone-fees

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT/WYMT) - When Mimi Sun was due for an upgrade and got a newer model IPhone, she was shocked to see her carrier tacked an upgrade fee onto her bill.
"I definitely was like, what? I was staying with the same carrier. It's not like I'm changing anything," Sun said.

An upgrade fee, when you're already paying for the new phone is the latest example of a one- time charge some cell phone companies are hitting consumers with. An analysis of the four major US carriers by Cheapism.com found they can add a dent to your wallet up to $36.

"The advertised price is never the true price. If you look at the small print it says plus fees and taxes. That can add anywhere from 17 up to 24 percent on top of the bill," said Louis DeNicola from Cheapism.com.

But if you want to subtract some of those one time charges, we found you may actually be able to talk your way out of upgrade, as well as activation fees.
"Activation fees can be shocking. A family of four that wants to change carriers might have to pay over $140," DeNicola said.

Experts say if you are fed up, speak up, because carriers are getting competitive when it comes to fees.
"Everyone in the United States that wants a cell phone has a cell phone. So they have to find a way to differentiate themselves, and the easiest way to do that is price," according to Michael Bremmer, a telecommunications expert.
That's what Mimi found after a quick call to customer service, reminding them she has been a long time customer.
"I said, as a courtesy, can you take that off? And they said yeah, sure, no problem," Sun said.

What other fees may be no problem to negotiate off your bill? If the money is going to Uncle Sam in taxes or government imposed fees, experts say, forget it. And those monthly administrative or regulatory fees, which range from 21 cents to about $2.50 a line, probably not.

But what about those hefty fees for going over your limit on your voice, text or data plan? Or for roaming internationally?
Experts say that's all possibly negotiable.


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