It seems almost everyone has a cell phone nowadays, so it seems being able to obtain a good plan to go along with it should be fairly simple. While you may have to do some calculations to determine what exactly you need your plan to cover, they are pretty basic and certainly nothing that would require a finance degree. Yet for some reason, when it comes to finding a phone plan, most people are unaware of how to find a phone plan that fits their needs. Due to this lack of knowledge, people end up settling for a plan that doesn’t suit them and find that they are unhappy with it in the future. However, at this point there is little the person can do, since most companies require people to stay under contract for at least a year, if not two, or pay a penalty. Read on to discover the five most common mistakes people make when purchasing a cell phone plan, so you can avoid making them yourself.
4 Common Cell Phone Plan Mistakes to Avoid
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they are searching for a cell phone plan is simply not knowing what the plan entails. Oftentimes people go with the first plan that they see and do not thoroughly consider all aspects of the plan. However the California Student Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) points out that when shopping for plans, people should make sure to be looking at the price of the plan as well as what the plan includes, such as the number of daytime minutes, roaming charges, and how many long distance minutes the plan allows. The buyer should then compare the different plans they have an interest in and chose the one that best fits their needs. Asking friends about their plans can give you a good idea of what you may want to look for as well.
Secondly, most people are unaware of what will show up on their bill when they purchase a phone plan and are surprised when they receive a bill in the mail with unexpected or unrecognizable charges. According to CALPIRG, billing mistakes are the number one complaint people have about their phone plans, and in many cases the person is being charged for things that they were told were included in the plan. In order to minimize the chances of having billing related problems, then the person must understand their bill and make sure that the charges correlate with their initial contract on the plan.
The third mistake that people make when purchasing a cell phone plan is being unaware of what they need in terms of minutes and data. As such, people may feel forced into getting an unlimited plan and paying hundreds of dollars each month, only to realize that they are spending tons of extra money on unlimited minutes that they do not need when the bill comes at the end of the month. On the other hand, others may get the cheapest plan available and then go over their minutes and end up with huge overage charges. So what can you do to prevent this? According to an article on Computerworld by Bob Brewin, the best way to accommodate this problem is to view your plan and then adjust it according to your needs. In this case the problem is finding a carrier that will allow people to switch their plans without incurring a fee.
Finally, people often end up picking a certain plan just because it includes a free phone. Most of the research that has been done on this suggests that people who buy plans that come with the free phone people are actually paying more for their plans in the long run. Carriers use this tactic to offset the price of the phone that is supposedly “free.” To avoid this, it is recommended that you find a phone that you want, and then choose a plan that suits your needs.
While good cell phone plans do exist, it can be tricky to find the perfect plan for you. In order to make sure that you are getting the most out of your cell contract, ensure that your carrier will allow you to change plans without incurring fees. Yet most importantly of all, write down exactly what you need in a phone plan before even going to the store, that you way you can make sure you’ll find something that meets your needs and you can avoid having to switch plans altogether.
About the author: Kate Manning is a business major who has worked under others and as a self-employed entrepreneur. She currently owns and manages her own business in Washington State.