State Consumer Affairs Office Compares Cell Phone Plans, Offers Tips for Purchasing Wireless Service
BOSTON – Today, the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation released a survey of the top four nationwide cell phone carriers. The survey looked at various smartphone plans’ prices, the amount of data offered, and cancellation policies.
“If you’re looking to change or buy a new cell phone plan, you need to do your research before calling or going to a store. It will save you time and money if you know the plan you want,” said John Chapman, Undersecretary of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. “Navigating the details of different plans can be confusing, and we’re happy to give consumers tips and information to better compare these services.”
The Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation conducted a survey of four nationwide cell phone carriers – Verizon Wireless, Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile – comparing the prices and features of various smartphone data plans. For approximately $100 a month, consumers have many options for data, voice, and messaging packages for single-line access.
The Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation advises consumers to find answers to some of the following questions before upgrading or changing their plan:
- Know your current plan. Is it out of date and grandfathered in? Does it meet your needs based on your actual use?
- Know how much data you use. Look at previous bills to calculate your average monthly use. If you were hit with overage charges, calculate how much extra you paid and whether you could save with a higher or unlimited data plan.
- Ask about your contract’s terms. Can you cancel your plan during a trial period? If you attempt to leave the provider for another, will you be subjected to an early termination fee?
- Ask if they have other plans available. Are there month-to- month, prepaid or other available options?
- Ask for the representative’s name and employee number. Get all agreements in writing.
- Keep records. Make note of the time and date of each conversation you have, documenting the representative’s name, store location, and any offer details. Make sure to get a written copy of any contracts or agreements.
- Ask questions. Read the terms and conditions carefully and ask for explanation if needed. Make sure you understand your plan’s package, how much you will owe and when, and the cancellation policy.
The Baker-Polito Administration’s Department of Telecommunications and Cable regulates the Massachusetts telecommunications and cable industries, promotes competition, and protects consumers’ interests. The Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation is committed to protecting consumers through advocacy and education, and also works to ensure that the businesses its agencies regulate treat all Massachusetts consumers fairly. Follow the Office at its blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter @Mass_Consumer.