It's a lot of little brushes that paints the big picture

Many dimes make millions

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Do you ever look at your cell phone bill? I mean, really look at what your paying for.
I don’t stress over it every month but since I have a family acct that includes my folks, wife cell phones and my wife’s notebook 3g card, I take a glance at it from time to time. It always seems strange that it bounces up and down so much from month to month even though we don’t break out of our included minutes.

Where I have found the expense bounce is when the nieces hit us with a lot of text messages. They are half way across the US so it’s allowed to keep everyone in tune without need to sit with the phone to your ear while you enlightened to the latest school function. The months there is a lot of activity in their social lives sees us breaking out of our ‘in plan’ texting plan. That can add up quickly.

Why don’t we just go to unlimited. Well, ATT wants a ‘unlimited’ charge on each phone in the family plan… a item that ever family should pencil out before jumping into.

Let’s get to the reason for this article. Imagine if you had millions of customers. And each customer one of those customers you could hit with a couple dimes extra charge each month. Would an individual take the time to go through a Support phone web of options just for 20 to 30 cents extra charge. Most likely not, so that is a safe bet you can bank that extra cash every month.

How would the average person catch that they are getting hit with an extra couple text message charges a month? Have two 80+ year old parents that have their Text Messaging turned off on their phones. Or, a wife’s 3G card acct hooked up to a notebook with no Text Messaging software installed. Pretty sure neither of those situations would have Text Messaging traffic.

My own notebook uses a Verizon cell connection. There was a Text Message charge from time to time… I did nothing. Then, one day at the mall I was walking by the Verizon Connected Store and thought to drop in (the girls were in a store I knew would take an hour so I had some time to play with). The greeter was surprised that I was there to discuss a few dimes. They did call without much pushing thought. You know the person on the other end of the phone was surprised too as the in-store women said “no really, he is standing here and wants it straightened out”. Less than one minute later I was offered a refund/credit for the last few months charges (70 cents) and have not had a miss charged Text Message on my bill since.

You milage will vary depending on the person who you grab. Judging by the speed of the transaction, this was not a new thing to them. The fact I have not been charged since tells us that they can control the Text Messaging. My guess, only a guess, is that the Messages were one from them about an update which I can not receive so why pay?!!

Lets say that the person in the store and the person they called makes $12/hour (even though the credit happened in a minute, I actually used up about 15 minutes of their time with the problem outline, calling and ‘thanks’ wrap up), then there is the correction to the bill, the credit entry and authorization, and the blocking of the miss charge happening again. In my case, 30 cents/mo x 12 = $3.60 is what they stood to make on my if I did nothing. Their labor and paperwork to correct the problem is about $10 if everyone was efficient. How many people calling the cell phone companies out for their creative billing will it take to get them to stop? Anyone have a way to make it easier for people to request a stop/refund so more people will get the phone companies to do the right thing? And lastly, will our bills go up in the near future to make up for the loss in income?

 
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Posted in: Lessons Learned

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