By John North
Better Business Bureau
Cell phones have easily become one of the most important parts of our everyday lives. In 2013, smartphone penetration in the US was 53% according to oberlo.com. In other words, just over half of all Americans owned a smartphone. Today, that number has surged to 91%. The average person spends three hours and 15 minutes on their phones each day. And, one in five smartphone users spend upwards of four and a half hours on average on their phones daily. Needless to say, phones have changed the game in the way we do day-to-day activities.
According to ibisworld.com, there are currently 870 wireless telecommunications carrier businesses in the US. With so many cell phone providers, it can be difficult to choose. Each provider has different plans, prices, phones, etc. You want the best deal for you and your family.
The Better Business Bureau offers the following tips:
· Research the company. Look at reviews and deals on its website. Get recommendations from friends and family.
· Figure out what plan meets your budget. Do you need a single or a family plan and how much data do you need?
· Decide if you want to sign a contract or want to go with the pay-as-you-go option.
· Compare coverage options. Consider where you spend most of your time and which carriers will offer the best coverage.
· Be sure your old phone is compatible with the service if you want to continue to use it with the new carrier.
· Ask about free trial periods. If the service is not satisfactory, you may be able to discontinue without paying a penalty fee.
· Check if any rebates are offered and if there are any extra or hidden fees.
· Be on the lookout for sales and deals that could possibly lower the price of your phone.
· Inquire if you’re permitted to switch plans or upgrade phones in the middle of your contract period. Check out cancellation, insurance and return policies.
· Don’t give in to high-pressure sales tactics.
· Get everything in writing, including verbal promises. Don’t sign anything until all blanks are completed. Make sure warranties and guarantees are in writing too.
The process of buying a cell phone doesn’t have to be difficult. You can avoid scams involving too-good-to-be-true offers by turning to BBB to ensure you’re dealing with a trustworthy organization. BBB can provide lists of BBB Accredited cellphone companies or Business Profiles on ones you’re considering. Visit bbb.org or call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.