(KTSF by Sean Au)
What would you consider before selecting your cell phone plan?
One city resident says, “The price with regards to the service. What’s included in the package. What hidden fees there are. If there is extra fees for things like text messaging.”
Another answers, “Usually I look at the price. I need the internet and make sure it is on my phone somewhere, I can use google maps.”
A third says, “How cheap it is. How fast the internet is. How much you overcharge once you sign up with them. And what it takes to terminate your membership if you want to.”
In a survey of 300 cell phone users in the state, two-thirds are paying for cell phone services they do not need or use. This is according to the California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) which conducted the survey.
CALPIRG’s study shows that the average bill of a cell phone user is $900 a year. 36% of people interviewed say that their monthly cell phone bills were higher than what they expected when they signed up for their package. These additional fees usually come from data charges, carrier fees and taxes.
The good news is there are ways to reduce the size of the bill. “Know your needs before you go into the store,” says Jon Fox, a Consumer Advocate for CALPIRG. “In that way, you can have a better idea of assessing what you should be buying. You can also avoid sales people upselling you services that you do not need or do not even use.”
CALPIRG encourages consumers to shop around and compare prices. Picking pre-paid services over post-paid services for the light cell phone user can also free you from a pricey two-year contract.
CALPIRG also reminds you to ask for a discount as many cell phone companies provide discounts to students and veterans, even employees of certain companies. You should also pay attention to possible additional charges for over limit usage.
Since many in the Bay Area rely on smart phones, CALPIRG offers this advice: a 2 Gigabyte plan is sufficient for checking emails, surfing the web and updating your facebook status. The higher data plans are suited for users who stream videos and use the video conferencing functions.
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