My cell phone is my only phone line. I don’t use it all that much–just a quick call to my husband once in awhile during his lunch hour, and longer conversations with my parents, his parents, and other family and friends.
The folks I call the most use AT&T wireless, so when we call each other on our cell phones, no minutes are deducted from either account.
My phone contract was set to expire in April, and I wanted to make sure I was still getting the best deal on my next plan.
I looked at my last several phone bills, and added up all minutes used (including minutes to other AT&T customers and the free nights & weekends minutes). I found that I used more minutes than I thought!
All told, I use about 450-500 minutes each month.
I decided that I didn’t want to decrease my phone time, because it’s not that much to begin with. Plus, if I cut back further, I would probably start to feel isolated. And, there’s no sense in depriving yourself just to be frugal!
When looking at pay-as-you-go plans, 450 minutes per month would be more expensive than having a regular mobile phone contract. At $0.25 per minute for one plan, 450 minutes would be $112.50! Yikes.
I compared prices for several carriers, and looked into possible discounts.
With AT&T, I have a 12 percent discount thanks to a former college affiliation. I could expect a similar discount with other carriers.
However, I didn’t want to switch carriers. A large chunk of my calls are to other AT&T customers, so those free minutes are really important to me. Still, I used that as a bargaining chip.
I called the AT&T customer service people and told them I was shopping for better rates, and I was considering leaving AT&T. I was immediately transfered to another department.
The next woman I spoke with wanted to know why I wanted to leave AT&T. I told her it was simply a money issue.
She tried to entice me to stay with AT&T by telling me that other carriers don’t roll over unused minutes. I told her that I rarely needed to use those roll over minutes to begin with.
I asked if she could match Verizon’s discount. She could only meet it. Not good enough, I told her.
"What will it take to keep you as a customer?" she asked me.
"Waive the $18 phone upgrade fee," I replied.
So, I got to stay with the company I wanted, and I avoided that pesky $18 upgrade charge. I upgraded to a newer phone (mine was starting to act wonky) and I chose a free model with free shipping. Normally, they tack on that $18 "upgrade fee" but I was able to negotiate my way out of it.
I wasn’t asking for anything unreasonable, I think. I’m still paying $40.12 per month even with my 12 percent discount. But, for a wireless plan that fits my needs, I know I’m getting the best deal that I can get.
It just goes to show you that if you want a deal, all you have to do is ask.