(WFLX) - When the cell phone bill arrives each month, do you just open it, cringe at the fees and send in the payment?
Have you ever thought to yourself, "Hey, maybe I could negotiate?" We found if you're upset about cell phone fees, speaking up could save you big bucks!
Exactly how much can you haggle with your provider? Fox 29 is dialed in on ways to keep money in your pocket.
When Mimi Sun was due for an upgrade and got a newer model iPhone, she was shocked to see her carrier tacked an "upgrade fee" onto her bill. "I definitely was like, 'What? I'm not paying so much money'. I was staying with the same carrier. It's not like I'm changing anything."
An upgrade fee, when you're already paying for the new phone, is the latest example of a "one time" charge some cell phone companies "ding" consumers with.
This analysis of the four major U.S. carriers by Cheapism.com found they can "dent" your wallet up to $36! "The advertised price is never the true price. If you look at the small print, it says, plus fees and taxes. That can add anywhere from 17 up to 24 percent on top of the bill," said Louis DeNicola with Cheapism.com.
If you want to "subtract" some of those "one time" charges, we found you may actually be able to talk your way out of upgrade and activation fees. "Activation fees can be shocking. A family of four, that wants to change carriers, might have to pay over $140."
Experts say if you're fed up, speak up because carriers are getting competitive when it comes to fees. "Everyone in the United States that wants a cell phone has a cell phone, so they have to find a way to differentiate themselves. The easiest way to do that is price," explained Telecommunications Expert Michael Bremmer.
That's what Mimi found after a quick call to customer service reminding them she's been a long time customer. "I said, 'As a courtesy, can you take that off?' And, they said, 'Yeah, sure no problem.'"
What other fees may be no problem to negotiate off your bill? If the money is going to Uncle Sam in taxes or government imposed fees -- forget it. Those monthly administrative or regulatory fees, which range from $.21 to about $2.50 a line, probably not.
But what about those hefty fees for going over your limit on your voice, text or data plan, or for roaming internationally?
With no international plan while vacationing in the Dominican Republic, Joshua Fuentes got quite a surprise when he returned back to the U.S.: A $2,000 phone bill!
Experts say if you've been a good customer and don't usually go over your plan, "Call into customer care and ask to have those fees waived. The worst they can say is no," said Bremmer.
Luckily, Joshua's carrier said yes when he called, and, he says, they reduced his bill 90 percent!
Now, he highly recommends speaking up versus immediately paying up! "I was happy that I called and negotiated the prices because the price they originally gave me, there's no way I could pay it."
Early termination fees and late fees are also charges, experts say, you can try to negotiate.
To get the full rundown on cell phone fees, which carriers are charging less than others, and ways to save, check out Cheapism.com.