My girlfriend and I are on a shared cell phone plan which has, in aggregate, saved us approximately $40 a month for over a year and netted us two nice free phones (they’d be nice even if they weren’t free, but they are even nicer because they are). In total, we have 600 anytime minutes that was hardly used when both of us had jobs because we wouldn’t be calling each other when we were at work (when most of those anytime minutes are used up). On average, I believe we used 300 minutes and I even considered dropping our plan down. Unfortunately, all that changed when she left her job and began job hunting.
She was on the phone all the time during the day now and it was a change in use we hadn’t really thought about. She had asked me if we needed to get more minutes, I thought 10 hours of talk time was plenty, but I hadn’t considered the fact that she’d be on the phone all the time during the day in the job search (in fairness, I didn’t ask why she wanted to know and she didn’t tell me she was on the phone all the time). The result? We were over by about 300 minutes (900 minutes last month!!!) which meant a whopping $100 or so in absurd overcharges.
So, she called up the cell phone company (Cingular) and asked them if we could bump up our plan and make it retroactive to last month. What she got was 200 additional minutes, no new contract, and the same monthly fee. The end result was pretty good. A $180 cell phone bill (inflated from $70) was reduced to $100 and a 600 minute plan inflated to an 800 minute plan. All that for a ten minute phone call… take that JP . 🙂
Followup: Turns out they just gave us a straight up $80 credit instead of retroactively applying the plan but still gave us the 200 minutes from here on in. The net effect is better than what we originally thought we negotiated.