13 Things Your Cell Phone Sales Rep Won’t Tell You

Get insider tips on how to buy the right phone, save money on your plan and more.

By Michelle Crouch from Reader's Digest | March 2011
13 Things Your Cell Phone Sales Rep Won’t Tell You©Carlos Barria/Reuters

1. Resist the temptation to get a new phone the moment your contract expires. Wait a few weeks and we’ll start dangling all sorts of discounts and incentives in front of you.

2. Always come in at the end of the month when we’re scrambling to make our quotas.

3. Don’t let us gouge you with our ridiculously high 411 fees. Use a free service like 800-FREE411 or 800-CALL411.

4. That phone advertised for $29? You’ll have to pay $129 for it, then fill out a bunch of paperwork to get a $100 rebate mailed to you. We make money because many of you won’t go through the hassle.

5. Leaving your phone in the bathroom while you take a steamy shower is almost as bad as dropping it in the bathtub.

6. Are you way over on minutes or text messages? If the billing cycle hasn’t closed yet, call us and upgrade to the next plan. It can mean the difference between paying a whopping 35 to 45 cents for each extra minute or $5 to $10 for the higher plan.

7. We’ve got all sorts of discounts—some as big as 28 percent off your monthly bills—that we can offer to employees of large companies and government agencies, credit union members, and more.

8. Trust me: You do want all the accessories and the unlimited-texts package. I make a lot of money off those, so I’ll be much more likely to give you a discount on your phone or service plan if you get them. Then, if you don’t want them, bring back the accessories the next day and call to cancel the text package.

9. Want out of your contract? Tell us you’re moving somewhere we don’t have service. Most of us don’t require proof.

10. Another way out: Watch your bill. If we raise your nonregulatory taxes and fees without notifying you, we have to let you out. Maybe we sent you a notification by mail, but you didn’t open it, or there was a text message you didn’t read. Raise enough stink, and we’ll let you go.

11. Thanks for buying our fancy rhinestone case for $25. You can get the same one at a flea market for $5.

12. When you see those commercials on TV urging you to “text now!” to get a free ring tone or your daily horoscope, don’t do it. You’re almost always subscribing to a service with monthly fees ranging from $2.99 to $29.99. And we can’t get you out of it.

13. If your phone gets static-y and seems about to drop the call, don’t hang up! We track dropped calls to identify and fix dead spots. If you hang up, we won’t know there was a problem.

Sources: Cell phone salespeople in North Carolina, Mississippi, and Michigan, and Jeff Brown, a “digital lifestyle coach” in Nashville

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