Guest Author - Jeremy Fore
Shopping for new wireless service, or upgrading your own service or phone can be frustrating, but it can also be an exciting chance to try new technology. Cell phone service can be a big investment as well as something you may have to deal with for awhile. I put as much into shopping around and comparing as some would for a new car. Iíve compiled a few helpful tips that may cut out some of the stress included with the stream of offers, rebates and promotions.
First, educate yourself. Your own research can be your best tool. Visit your local service providers just for brochures covering plans and extras. Most companies have websites that have details on all of their available products and services. Get an idea of how many minutes you need, and what kind of features you want. If you do this in advance, and know what to expect, youíll avoid being offered a lot of unnecessary services and features. Youíll be less likely to get the run around if you go in like you mean business.
The time of year you shop can be important as well. Shopping around the holidays can mean big savings in cellular service. Christmas and Valentineís Day are prime times to get free phones. A lot of people purchase wireless service as gifts during Christmas especially, and providers are ready to offer good deals to attract customers. You can get higher rebates, free accessories, and occasionally discounts on service.
Location is a big factor in getting the best deal. Itís best to go to the source for wireless service. Go to the providerís actual store to get the best advice. Independent mall kiosks often have employees working mainly for commission, and their service rates phone prices can be higher. Department stores and chain electronics stores often sell cellular service, and itís usually the same prices as youíd get directly. However, you may miss out on promotions and deals. These places rarely have employees who deal specifically in wireless, so it can be difficult to get accurate and experienced advice in setting up your service.
If you already have a contract, itís a good idea to wait until after your service agreement term is over to look for new service. After this time, usually one or two years, youíre not on a contract and your provider knows that. They will offer you credits, discounts on service, and other incentives to renew your contract. Most companies have whole departments devoted to keeping customers near or past the end of their contract term. Also, if youíre current contract is nearly over, your provider might be willing to price match with competitors if you stick with them to change your plan. If youíre new to wireless service, signing up for the longest contract will get you better rebates on phones, but donít sign up for a longer contract than youíre comfortable with. The incentives arenít as lucrative as they seem sometimes.
Most sales representatives at these stores work on commission. If you scratch their back, theyíll scratch yours. Here's a little trick. If you buy a lot of accessories, theyíll be more generous with discounts. Even if you donít want the features, buy them anyway to get the discounts on your service, and then return the accessories the next day. It may seem a little sneaky, but a deal is a deal, right?
I hope these tips help you avoid some of the hassle involved with shopping for cellular service. With these tips, you can find the best bang for your buck, and avoid some of the providerís tricks with a few of your own. Hereís one final note to keep in mind. A lot of these companies have return policies ranging anywhere from 7 to 30 days, so if youíre not happy with your phone or plan, or if you change your mind, donít be afraid to go in and get something different. Good luck!