Negotiate, save on your next cell phone bill

Activation, upgrade fees can be waived when customers ask

By Eryka Washington - Investigative Reporter

ORLANDO - Cable bill. Power bill. Cell phone bill. Rent or mortgage. It all adds up fast

When those bills arrive each month, you probably cringe at the fees and send in the payment, but have you ever thought to yourself, "Hey, maybe I could negotiate?"

Statistics show the average family spends nearly $1,400 a month on bills, and the cell phone bill can be about ten percent of that.

When Mimi Sun was due for an upgrade she thought she was taking advantage of a good thing and chose the newer model iPhone.

Then came the shock.  Her carrier tacked on an "upgrade fee."

"I definitely was like, 'What? I'm not paying so much money,'" complained Sun.

In fact, recently found the four major US carriers tack on an average forty dollars in fees to your bill.

While you can't get rid of government taxes, Local 6 Consumer reporter Eryka Washington recommends calling your carrier to have upgrade as well as activation fees waived.

If you've been a good customer and don't usually go over your plan, consumers can also negotiate fees for going over limits on voice, text, or data plan

"Call into customer care and ask to have those fees waived. The worst they can say is no," suggested Michael Bremmer, a telecommunications expert.

And don't forget to ask about roaming options when you travel.

"It didn't really cross my mind, thinking about my cell phone plan," said Joshua Fuentes who recently returned from a trip to the Dominican Republic.

Fuentes he got quite a surprise: a $2,000 cell phone bill.

But with one call to his carrier, Fuentes was able to get his bill reduced by 90 percent.

"I was happy that I called and negotiated the prices because the price they originally gave me, there's no way I could pay it," said Fuentes.

Early termination fees and late fees are also charges you can try to negotiate.

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