Tips on how to save on your smartphone plan

You don't have to keep putting up with outrageously expensive cell phone bills, learn how to get those prices down
January 15, 2014 6:28:11 AM PST
You don't have to keep putting up with outrageously expensive cell phone bills, learn how to get those prices down. You could lower them by a lot if you learn how to negotiate.

If you are upset about your cell phone fees, it may pay you to speak up. If you haggle when you're up for a new contract, it could save you big bucks.

When Mimi Sun was due for an upgrade and got a newer model iPhone, she was shocked to see her carrier tacked an upgrade fee onto her bill.

"I definitely was like, 'What?' I'm not paying so much money. And, I was staying with the same carrier. It's not like I'm changing anything," said Sun.

An upgrade fee, when you're already paying for the new phone is the latest example of a one-time charge some cell phone companies are adding to consumers bills. And this analysis of the four major U.S. carriers by found they can dent your wallet up to $36!

"The advertised price is never the true price, if you look at the small print it says, plus fees and taxes. That can add anywhere from 17 up to 24 percent on top of the bill," said Louis Denicola with

But if you want to subtract some of those one-time charges, we found you may actually be able to talk your way out of upgrade, as well as activation fees.

"Activation fees can be shocking, a family of four that wants to change carriers might have to pay over $140," said Denicola.?

Experts say if you're fed up speak up because carriers are getting competitive when it comes to fees.

"Everyone in the United States that wants a cell phone has a cell phone," said telecommunications expert Michael Bremmer. "So, they have to find a way to differentiate them, and the easiest way to do that is price."

That's what Sun found after a quick call to customer service, reminding them she's been a long time customer.

"I said, 'As a courtesy -- can you take that off? ' asked Sun. "And they said 'Yeah, sure no problem.'"

What other fees may be no problem to negotiate off your bill? If the money is going to Uncle Sam in taxes or government imposed fees, forget it. Those monthly administrative or regulatory fees range from 21 cents to about $2.50 a line.

But what about those hefty fees for going over your limit on your voice, text, or data plan? Or for roaming fees internationally?

"It didn't really cross my mind, thinking about my cell phone plan," said smartphone user Joshua Fuentes.

With no international plan while vacationing in the Dominican Republic, Fuentes got quite a surprise when he returned back to the U.S. with a $2,000 phone bill. Experts say if you've been a good customer and don't usually go over your plan

"Call into customer care and ask to have those fees waived, the worst they can say is no," said Bremmer.

Luckily, Fuentes' carrier said, yes when he called, and he says they reduced his bill 90 percent. Now, he highly recommends speaking up versus immediately paying up.

"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.

Find Patricia on Facebook at ABC13PatriciaLopez or on Twitter at @patricialopez13

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