Avoid these mistakes when upgrading your cell phone contract

by Kye Husbands

We all know a thing or two about getting what we want in a negotiation and when it comes to cellphones everyone has a tip.

Some believe they know how to get the carriers to kneel to the ground, while others feel like its an exercise in high blood pressure. Either way, these tips will help you avoid a few common mistakes before making that call.

Be careful of the silent “extension” – Here’s the scenario. You call your carrier with the intent of upgrading and end up making a few minor adjustments to your existing plan. (eg. Adding text messaging or increasing your voice mail or data plan) When doing so, make sure your carrier doesn’t extend your contract by another 2-3 years. Customers usually get a rude awakening at a later date, when they discover that was the case and still have months if not years left on that extended contract.

Loyalty will only get you so much – Highlighting the fact that you have been a good client for 10 years doesn’t mean what you think it should. From the carrier’s perspective what it really means, is that, you’re less likely to leave. Statistically they know this and that’s why the deals for long time customers, never quite stack up to the deals being offered to newcomers, so, don’t lead with this as your trump card.

Don’t say no to a contract to spite the man and end up hurting yourself – Here’s a scenario we see much too often. Client purchases an iPhone outright and then discovers it doesn’t work with one of the newer carriers. Okay, no big deal, until they also realize that the plan only offerings aren’t as good as the offers on subsidized deals on a 3yr contract. Making matters worse, they end on a cell phone plan that is horrible, with, less overall features and for example, 100MB of data. 100MB of data on an iPhone, is like winning a Ferrari with a limiter set to a max speed of 40KM an hour. In the end, the client is out of pocket upfront by $500-$700 or more and with the higher monthly costs over the same period there is no benefit of giving up your hard earned cash. Some will argue that their freedom was worth every penny and maybe they’re rich enough to do so, but you paid for that right. So, that’s the reality of the cell phone game today, and of course, I hope it changes – soon -, but as they say, don’t bite off your nose to spite your face.

Bite your tongue and make good notes – Do NOT get into a pissing match with any carrier representatives, despite your frustrations. Put yourself in their shoes, would you budge if someone was calling you every name in the book to save $5 or get some feature for FREE? Furthermore, once they make their notes in the system, it becomes exponentially harder to get them to go against each other so, stay cool and make good notes of all conversations. In the end, you don’t want to have to rely on their word against yours, despite the fact that they can record calls. So keep track of dates/times and representatives you spoke to, as well as get the details – confirmed and reconfirmed.

Make your business work for you – If you own a business you should never be paying for your cell phones personally. In addition to tax write offs and other benefits, business cell phone plans tend to have more incentives and more value overall. Examples include, bill credits to cover existing termination fees, cheaper phones and other feature and promotional incentives that are richer than regular consumer cell phone deals. The more devices you have in your business the more difficult it can be to make the comparisons and an informed decision, so let our team help you reduce your cell phone bill.

Lastly, do your homework. This may seem obvious but we realize how confusing things can be and simplifying the whole cell phone experience was the main reasons we created myCELLmyTERMS. So either get some help from our team, especially if you have a business with several users, or do the research first on our site before making that call. Also remember, the iPhone and other market leading smartphones are really computers and they costs more than some big screen TV’s today, so either you buy it outright ($500+) and search for a good plan, or save your cash, get a better plan and take the subsidized pricing with the contract (sometimes as low as $50). When it comes to plans and features, know your usage profile currently and if upgrading to a smart phone understand how much data you need.


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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