Audit Your Cell Phone Bill: Tip-of-the-Day #264

I've been a Verizon Wireless subscriber for nearly two years. I made the switch from Sprint in 2011 and if memory serves, the catalyst was a migration from my Blackberry to an iPhone.

For two years, I've been paying nearly $200/month for my text/talk/data plan. That includes 1400 minutes of talk and text and 2GB of data. Oh, there's also an extra $9.99 in there for a dummy phone line that I had to set up when my first iPhone was stolen, and there's $9.99 for insurance, also in the mix.

Any time I would mention to a friend, colleague or family member what I'm paying for monthly service, I would get the same reaction. Jaw drop, widened eyes and some sort of proclamation of surprise, like, "What?! I'm only paying $100!". I always assumed they were using some spotty carrier like AT&T (unreliable on the west coast, just sayin'). So I chalked it up to a willingness on my part to pay more for reliability.

Well, yesterday I phoned "611" on my phone and was patched through to someone in Verizon Customer Support. I explained that I was simply tired of paying $200 a month for my cell phone service when I'm not a power user and everyone I know is paying half that. The somewhat sympathetic support agent promised to look into the details of my billing and "see what she could do."

Turns out I'd been paying for a data plan associated with my Blackberry that I hadn't owned in 2 years! It was $45 extra a month. $45! Before hysteria could set in, Ashley (we quickly got to a first name basis) told me that I would have been paying $30 for 2GB of data so really I was only overpaying $15 a month for two years. Well, that's $360! Nothing to sneeze at! I asked how it could have gone unnoticed by Verizon that I was overpaying on a plan that didn't even suit my device. Why don't they audit the accounts of long-time customers? She had no explanation for that. I then learned that if I were on the "Share Everything" plan which launched just over a year ago, I would only be paying $100 a month. FOR EVERYTHING - TEXT, TALK, AND DATA. At this I nearly did let the hysteria upend the conversation. Why hadn't they "shared everything" WITH ME??

Turns out, we, the people, are charged with auditing our own cell phone service providers and ensuring that we have internalized all of the latest plan structures. Add to that, we must conduct our own usage analysis, proactively phone customer support (wait on hold indefinitely) and insist we be migrated to the plan that only costs HALF of what we're currently paying. Oy.

Let me sum it all up by saying: In the end, I was credited $90 for six months worth of overpaying for a data plan I shouldn't have been on in the first place. Verizon was unwilling to go back the full two years. Whatev. And, I was moved over to the "Share Everything" Plan and will now be paying significantly less each month.

Folks! It's worth it to check yourself every now and again because no one will have your back like you do. Happy Friday!