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
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
- 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).
Great to know that you did something abt it. Will keep this in mind. Bookmarked for future ref.
I am going through weird charges on my cable bill. It started out just $5 more, but now it is $50 more for random charges and taxes.
Jay, That’s exactly why you need to monitor & challenge every extra charge. I think they use little charges to test & see what they can get away with … and if you don’t fight them, you keep paying higher & higher bills.
oh i really need to send this over to my step mom she has been with verizon for years. i know she will find this benefical
It’s so important to check every bill as all these extra costs seem to creep I somehow. And don’t be afraid to change providers either.
Great article Tina! I know we talk about this all the time, but these are the “money leaks” where we find thousands of lost dollars in business expenses for clients ALL THE TIME! Autopay does not mean “never look at it again”. If you don’t have time to review these bills month after month, a good bookkeeper can take care of this for you monthly to put the money back in your pockets!
A bookkeeper is a good idea Debra. I’m waiting for an app where I can specify the top amount allowed for autopay, and have those bills that go over, come to my inbox.
It is such a PAIN to try to get charges credited. I had a few on my bill once, I gave up on trying to call (long hold) so I went to the store to do it. They guy said he did but it was still there afterwards. Grrrr
PS – I hope the nursing home took care of the phone they washed, Yikes!
Erin, You obviously understand the games they’re playing. They know and I think purposely waste our time so we’ll go away. But that’s letting them win & from there it will only get worse. My advice is to call and put the phone on speaker. My first call had me waiting about 25 minutes but I was on my computer working. What you’ll soon realize is you actually benefit by learning how to work more efficiently and how to ask better questions right up front, and if you get $30 back … isn’t that worth an hour of your time?
Oooo great tips!!!! We have had Verizon for years!!! Works the best in our area
Yes I keep Verizon because I travel a lot & they have better coverage but someday, when I have another option, I will likely move.
Bills are stress! Sometimes im always having trouble with bills.
Great tips, it seems like there are always so many mysterious charges on my bills.
Bethany, You have to fight these charges or you will consistently pay 20% or more month after month.
Bills can be frustrating sometimes. This looks really amazing!
This is awesome. I love the research and thought you put into this most. I feel like I learned something new!
Tiana, I love learning & teaching. My hope is that I can show by example that it’s time for us to slow down and demand what we deserve. Our consumer driven economy is feeding the new culture of greed. When we educate ourselves and push back, we will ultimately win … like the Grab Your Wallet movement that got Neiman Marcus to drop all Trump products.
Thanks for the post, for the tips. This is what I am loving about blogging, I can share a lot of good stuff I know and likewise getting as much information I needed.
Thanks for sharing this info. I think i should check my phone bills now.
I used to work for Verizon customer service so I have heard so many times from people with crazy high bills. Its amazing how much you can save if you pay attention to what you are actually paying for.
Bernadette, Thank you so much for validating my issues and solution for dealing with an ongoing set of scams by Verizon.
What great ideas. I cannot stand a high phone bill so I will keep this in mind.
We should not have to check these bills for up charges. Good thing you did and found the mistakes.