As featured in The Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, and more!
     

Changed My Verizon Wireless Plan: Same Features for $30 Less

This article was written by in Consumer. 8 comments.


Earlier this year, I upgraded my only phone — I have no need for a land line — to a BlackBerry 8830 on Verizon Wireless. Now I receive my important email (in addition to some junk mail) where ever I happen to be. I accepted the fact that I would be paying for this service. In fact, my cell phone bill increased from about $50 to about $90 to pay for unlimited data, email, and a limited amount of voice minutes.

Unknown to me, Verizon began offering a less expensive option for BlackBerry owners a few months after I signed up for the plan. The new option has all of the same features except for enterprise-level email. I do not use this extra feature, so the new plan would provide me the same functionality for a lower price.

There’s one problem: Verizon didn’t contact me to let me know a new plan type was available. Why should they? If I switch to the new plan, I’d be sending them less money each month. I don’t read websites that focus on wireless services like HowardForums so I do not keep myself up-to-date with the latest industry news.

Here is how I discovered that I have been overspending. A Consumerism Commentary reader tipped me off to Validas, a website that scans your wireless phone bill and suggests opportunities for saving. Validas works with AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular customers. Using the service once costs $5 but if you order multiple reports, the price drops. One report per month costs $20 for a year. If you order a package of 24 reports, they cost only $1 each.

You can preview your savings for free, but in order to receive details about the less expensive options, you will be required to pay for at least one report.

In order to analyze my bill, I first had to visit Verizon’s online billing website to download a PDF version of my bill. I then logged into Validas and uploaded my bill.

Validas

After uploading my bill, Validas analyzed my usage from the last month and presented suggestions for saving money. The website informed me that I could save $30. My current service includes a nationwide BlackBerry plan that includes email, web, 450 anytime minutes, unlimited night and weekend voice minutes, unlimited anytime Verizon-to-Verizon voice minutes, unlimited Verizon-to-Verizon text messages, and 500 additional text messages. Validas suggested I switch to a voice plan that includes the same service except the BlackBerry service is an extra, added onto a 300 anytime minutes plan.

Validas couldn’t provide the details about the new BlackBerry add-on, so I quickly researched the “EMAIL & WEB -BLACKBERRY $29.99″ service. As I mentioned above, this cheaper option doesn’t include enterprise email. I do not use this feature, so I was happy to drop it to save $30.

I should also disclose that my employer offers a 19% discount for all Verizon Wireless plans, and Validas was able to take this discount into account.

I visited Verizon Wireless to change my plan to start saving $30 per month immediately. This change did not affect my contract. Even though I was switching to a lower-cost plan, Verizon did not require that I extend my contract for two years.

Next I visited BillShrink, a service similar to Validas, but free. BillShrink does not require a PDF version of my statement, but in order for the analysis to begin, I needed to provide my cell phone number and my login password for verizonwireless.com. After running my usage pattern through thousands of options across all wireless carriers, BillShrink suggested I could save $50 per month by switching to a 200 anytime minute plan (which also did not seem to exist on Verizon’s website).

Unfortunately, BillShrink did not take my BlackBerry into account. I could obviously save more money by dropping my BlackBerry and re-activating my old phone, but since I plan to stick with my current phone until my contract is complete, Validas provided the results that were more appropriate.

For me, the $5 spent to have my bill analyzed by Validas paid for itself six times over in one month or 90 times over for the remainder of my contract. It also made me realize that I need to pay more attention to the plans offered by my wireless provider so I don’t miss out on any price reductions. Verizon isn’t going to make any effort to let me know that I can save money by switching my plan.

Published or updated November 12, 2008. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

Email Email Print Print
avatar
Points: ♦127,500
Rank: Platinum
About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Craig

Thanks for the tip. I currently have a Blackberry Curve but took off the internet and enterprise feature because it was costing too much and the internet was too slow. I haven’t decided if I want to upgrade to the next Blackberry or go for the iPhone, but if I stick with Blackberry I certainly will be using this tips. Thanks!

Reply to this comment

avatar Luke Landes ♦127,500 (Platinum)

Craig: This website will work for any kind of phone, not just BlackBerry or iPhone. Regardless of the type of phone or plan you currently have, you could benefit from checking these websites to see if you could save money by switching to a plan that better fits your usage patterns.

Reply to this comment

avatar Miss M

I was just doing my own analysis yesterday on our verizon bill. Our usage has dropped dramatically since we signed up a few years ago and we’re paying way too much. The problem is the family plans are in 700 minute increments, they don’t give you a lot of choice it’s either 700, 1400 etc. Then the per minute overage charge is so high they make it a tough choice between lower minutes and a chance you’ll go over or higher minutes you may never use. I can definitely drop us to the 1400 minute plan but the 700 is a gamble. Decisions decisions.

Reply to this comment

avatar Chaka Khan

Can you share insight into why you went with 1) a Blackberry and 2) Verizon? I’m an AT&T customer who’s contract is up and I’ve heard great things about Verizon. I’m also leaning towards buying a phone with Internet capabilities. Did you buy the phone online and then get Verizon service? Or buy the phone at a Verizon store, or a big box retailer? Inquiring minds want to know!

Reply to this comment

avatar Luke Landes ♦127,500 (Platinum)

Chaka: I’ve been a Verizon Wireless customer for a while. When I purchased my first cell phone, Verizon had the best coverage in my area. I haven’t seen any reason to switch providers, though from what I understand AT&T has equal or better coverage now.

I chose BlackBerry because I wanted something that is part organizer, part web, part phone with access to email. The other web phones on Verizon were more like toys and targeted towards kids.

Reply to this comment

avatar GluKelu

I tried myvalidas.com and I have to agree with the article… I uploaded my bill for free and was able to decide whether or not it was worth the $5 to see the entire report.

They saved me $280 this year.. I had several ‘unlimited’ plans that I definately didnt need and I was able to see who I called the most and when I made my calls the most. The carriers never tell me this… the pushy sales reps at the stores insist that unlimited is a safe option to avoid overages. It reminds me of the bully in school telling me I could buy him lunch everyday or get a daily beating. Now I have a bodyguard that cost a fraction of the price :)

I have to get my boss to use this for our company.. they are always complaining about the “stupid cellphone bill’.

Thanks myvalidas.com!

Reply to this comment

avatar FL

Verizon mailed me a flyer in Oct saying there was a cheaper plan available, and I switched in Nov. So they do proactively notify customers of lower-priced plans. Maybe there is some catch to the new plan, but if there is, I haven’t found it yet. Also when I have called them they have been very good about recommending a different plan on the phone that better matches my usage.

Reply to this comment

avatar Moshe

Wait so you give these websites your personal information and they tell you you can save 20$ sounds fair… Honestly you don’t know these guys on these websites “BillShrink does not require a PDF version of my statement, but in order for the analysis to begin, I needed to provide my cell phone number and my login password for verizonwireless.com” if anyone actually gives this, I feel so sorry.

Reply to this comment

Leave a Comment

Connect with Facebook

Note: Use your name or a unique handle, not the name of a website or business. No deep links or business URLs are allowed. Spam, including promotional linking to a company website, will be deleted. By submitting your comment you are agreeing to these terms and conditions.

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

Previous post:

Next post: