Everyone loves technology that reduces the time spent doing things we don't care for, like paying bills. Who hasn't setup automatic payments and stopped monitoring their bills? We're all guilty of what my friend Debra calls “set and forget”. She's taught me that you must monitor your bills monthly or you'll end up paying more. To illustrate why you need to monitor all your monthly bills, here's what I've had to do to pay a lower Verizon bill.
Lower Verizon Bill by Catching Rate Changes
Even when you stick to the rules for the Verizon plan you signed up for, they can AND will change the plan. In November 2014, they tacked on an additional $20/mo for unlimited data.
$50/mo + $20/mo = $70/mo per line (5 lines)
Never Use Prepay Phones
The prepaid phones you buy at stores like Walmart, overcharge consumers. I bought my sister a flip phone which cost $35/mo and they kept trying to sell her more data? I switched the line but they wouldn't give me credit for time remaining on old plan.
$35/mo reduced to $24.59/mo
Splitting Verizon Accounts a Disaster
In order to switch my sister's phone to my phone plan, they split my account into two accounts. My mistake was I didn't make them show me the math, and prove it wouldn't cost me any more. This was done in person, at a company owned store but I couldn't get any help afterwards. So make sure it's done right up front, get as much written documentation as you can and scrutinize your first bill (above).
$49.99 + $49.99 + $35 = $134.98, for savings of $2.49/mo
Lower Verizon Bill, Not Triple!
In May 2015, I was ready to move my husband over to the new Verizon account. This meant increasing the data plan by $20/mo, which you can't see above. What should have been an extra $43.95/mo was out of control.
All they did was transfer my husband's line with his old plan, even after explaining that the bump in my data plan was to cover his usage. Getting this resolved took many phone calls and probably three to four hours as half the people I talked to couldn't figure out what happened. Finally …
New and lower Verizon netted a savings of $56.04/mo
Shared Family Plan Gives You a Lower Verizon Bill
After the nursing home washing my father-in-laws phone, we switched him to our plan for a lower Verizon bill compared to Sprint where he had a solo account. Of course I had to fight on the phone to get credits promised to my husband in the store.
We're saving about $30/mo by using a family versus solo plan
Internationally Calling Scam
Yesterday's email said my new Verizon bill was available online (don't remember turning off snail mail). The problem was the bill appeared to be about $15 more than the last few bills. Given the incredible billing issues I've had to resolve over the last year, this was a red flag.
So I called Verizon for an explanation. I learned my husband called Canada. For 2 calls (26 minutes) we were charged $11.83 plus taxes. Of course you could only find this information with help.
That's because Verizon doesn't want you to find these problems. They guesstimate your pain threshold and try to keep these scams below it, to reap obscene profits. The information was buried on page 12 of the PDF version of the bill. It's under “long distance/other charges” which makes no sense.
So here's what I learned while on hold for about 25 minutes (Sunday night).
- Advertising a new unlimited data plan, starting at $45/mo/line … with 4 lines.
- Advertising $15/mo international calling plan (Canada and Mexico included in unlimited plan).
The irony is the new (2017) unlimited plan is is about $100/mo less than I was paying before this story began. I'm amazed and glad the competition has been able to drive Verizon to lower their costs! But I don't trust them so I'll stick with what I've got for now.
We'll use Skype going forever, for all international calls!
Use Skype for All Your International Calls
Skype is an amazing tool. Once you've got it setup, it's really easy to use and for most of the things you'll use it for it's free. So here's what's free:
- You can connect with anyone that has a Skype account, and that's anyone in the world!
- You can have group calls with friends on Skype, from a smart phone, tablet or computer.
- You can send instant messages to friends, and our tablet beeps when we get message.
- You can visit with your grandchildren on Skype, using their video option.
- For work, I use their screen sharing option a lot … to train team members.
The only time I have to pay for Skype is when I need to call a phone number. Once you have your friends or business associates sign up for Skype, you stop paying. But trust me, it's inexpensive. You buy credit in $10 increments and it takes me six months or longer to use that up. When I called my aunt in Johannesburg, South Africa, we talked for about 30 minutes, and it might have cost $1.50.
So here are some resources for you to get started using Skype:
- Learn more about Skype.
- Download Skype here. They support computers, mobile phones, tablets, Xbox, Wearables and TV. The big deal is with Skype on your phone, you never have to make an international call which Verizon will charge you for.
- Check out Skype's rates to call various countries, listed alphabetically (you don't need to know the country code).
It's time for everyone to have a lower Verizon bill … forever!