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Cell Phone Contracts: How to Get the Best Deal

March 9th, 2010

cell-phones.jpgNot all cell phone contracts are necessarily as good as they may first appear. A contract deal which looks like a bargain on paper could end up costing you more altogether than the phone itself is actually worth. With this in mind, here are some things to consider when choosing a cell phone deal.

Consider your cell phone usage

Most cell phone contracts will charge you a fixed monthly rate to be able to use your phone. This is the same amount regardless of whether you are a cell phone addict or just keep it for emergencies. If you do not use your phone very often, it can be better to look for a calling plan that takes into account how many calls you make, how many text messages you send, and the time of day that these tend to take place.

Check your tariff

As tariffs can vary wildly from network to network, it pays to look around to see how yours shapes up. If you find that your tariff is more expensive than similar deals on other networks, it can be worth phoning your cell phone network and informing them that you have found the same deal (or a very similar one) cheaper elsewhere and will be switching your custom if they cannot match it. While this will not sway everyone, you may be surprised to see how accommodating your cell phone network can be if they are scared that they will lose your business. If you’re feeling especially brave, why not try getting free texts thrown into the bargain (if they are not already included) and a new cell phone upgrade? You may not be successful, but you’ve got nothing to lose by having a go.

This works best if your contract is coming up for renewal as you are locked into it up to this point. While you are chained to your current cell phone contract, your network will not entertain the idea of negotiating as they know that they have power over you. Wait until your contract is due to expire, and make it clear that you will not remain a customer if you are not offered a cheaper deal. If they call your bluff and offer to disconnect you, tell them that you have yet to fully make up your mind. You are not obliged to accept the disconnection — even if your attempts to secure a better deal are not successful.

Negotiate your contract length

It is common for cell phone contracts to last for eighteen months, so you are tied to them for the foreseeable future if you make the wrong choice. If you want to cancel your contract before it expires, you are likely to be hit with a cancellation fee. With new deals coming on the market all the time, it can be a big mistake to commit to a cell phone contract for such a length of time without being able to easily opt out of it. It may not always be possible to change the length of your contract as many networks will simply say that this is non-negotiable, but it can be well worth a try if you are being encouraged into a contract that lasts for over a year — especially if it costs you to leave the network before it expires.

Look beyond initial deals

Many people find themselves tied to a less than favorable cell phone contract because they were drawn in by a good ‘deal’ on a particular model of phone or were even offered a free cell phone as part of the package. However, these ‘bargains’ are likely to cost you in the long term. Whatever you allegedly ’saved’ on the cell phone will be counteracted by the cost of your calling plan or fixed monthly plan, and it is not uncommon to find yourself locked into a cell phone plan that will see you pay more than the phone was worth in the first place (especially if it was offered for ‘free’). Such deals typically include very little in the way of airtime or minutes. This makes it more likely that you will need to buy extra airtime or minutes on top of the fee that you will already be paying to use the cell phone service. This can quickly become very costly.

Somewhat related article: How Can I Fix My Cell Phone - It Got Wet

This article was supplied to us by “Sally A.” from Constant Content.

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