In early June 2013, the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) introduced a new code related to the length of cellphone contracts and the fees that companies can charge for international roaming and data. As of December 2013, consumers will have more bargaining power when it comes to finding the best deals for the cell phone or other mobile devices. One key highlight from the code that every consumer should know is the ability to cancel their wireless contract after two years without paying a cancellation fee. (For more details on the code, visit the CRTC website).
Although the code comes into effect in five months, you do not have to wait to bargain for a better wireless deal to fit your needs and budget. With the right mindset and following practical tips, you can be paying much less in fees when it comes to wireless services for your mobile device.
1. Know What You Need Before Buying
Depending on how you use your mobile device will influence the amount of money that you will pay for the wireless services. If you will need a cell phone just for emergencies or for occasional use, you should be aware of “pay per use” or prepaid cards. These cards will prevent you from getting yourself into costly contracts even if your phone is hardly used. Alternatively, if your mobile device is your main communication vehicle (i.e., phone, text, web surfing), writing down what functions you use and to what degree in terms of megabytes of data (i.e. the amount of information that gets sent on the provider’s network).
2. Do Some Research
With the list of your needs for a wireless plan, you can turn to the internet to conduct some research and start comparison shopping. All the wireless providers have websites with the details of the offers. When reading through the information from each provider, be sure to read the fine print and the conditions. To assist you in comparing different offers, you can use Cell Phone Etc. that has a great tool at (http://www.cellphones.ca/cell-plans/) to help you assess a plan for your service needs.
3. Visit Competitors
With your research and comparison of deals, visit the competitors of your current provider. Explain to the client services representatives in the stores that you have specific needs, a budget and looking for a service provider to beat the fee that you are paying. By being prepared with documentation on offers by other providers, you can have leverage in bargaining amongst companies that want your business. State that your current contract is ending soon and you are looking for the best deals on the market.
4. Pledge Your Loyalty
If your contract is just about to end in the next few weeks, be proactive and call your existing provider to explain that you are in the process of finding a way of reducing the amount of money that you pay for wireless charge. Be very clear that you wish to stay with them once again, however; ask if there is any wiggle room in terms of giving you a better rate on certain services be it phone, text or web surfing. If the client services representative sounds that he or she is not sure about facilitating the reduction of fees, ask to speak to a manager. Some wireless providers are willing to be flexible on fees in the hopes of keeping clients happy and loyal. It is recommended that you have your research handy when talking to the manager to refer the other offers that you are considering.
5. Take Advantage of Bundle Options
If you are already a client of one of the big telecommunications companies, you can bundle the wireless service that you need with the existing services. By simply calling your service provider, you can ask about the option you may have to put your wireless charges on one bill for the purposes of reducing your total bill. Please note that some providers have certain conditions where they will not bundle their wireless services (i.e., prepaid cards).
With the variety of wireless service providers that are available to consumers, negotiating fees is not as difficult as you think. It takes time to prepare yourself in terms of knowing what you need and being proactive in talking to your current provider and their competitors.
About The Monnaie Money Project:
For the past four years the Carrefour jeunesse-emploi de Côte-des-Neiges and the Jamaican Canadian Community Women’s League of Montreal Inc. have been very active in promoting financial literacy to the wider community in the city of Montreal. This experience has been extremely valuable as we are in constant contact with youth and seniors from the various cultural communities. They have expressed to us what their needs are in terms of financial literacy programming.
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