The Squeaky Wheel Gets a Better Cell Phone Deal

This is a guest post by Linda Bustos. Linda is the Editor of, where you can learn more about credit cards. This article shares secrets for getting a better cell phone deal.

A couple years ago, I was using what some might call a "Zack Morris Cell Phone." It was huge, black and white, heavy and all you could do on it was play crab catch. Although all my friends and co-workers had slick phones that could take pictures and video - I could barely use my calculator. So around Boxing Day 2005, I started reading those colorful newspaper flyers from every cell phone carrier in town. They were all offering some pretty sweet deals and free, funky phones, so I decided it was time to upgrade - finally.

I was in a powerful position as I was not on a contract at the time (my original airtime provider was swallowed up by a behemoth telcom but my old plan was grandfathered). So I was able to swing a sweet deal from my current provider by notifying them I had found a more attractive offer. The phone call went something like this:

"Hi, my name is Linda and my cellphone number is XXX-XXXX, I found {deal from "competition"} and I'd like to end my plan with you now." When asked what about the offer I wanted, I detailed all that was offered by the other company. My cell phone company not only matched it but they gave me free caller ID and voicemail service for a whole year - $96 savings right there. Plus they threw in a free phone with no hardware switching fee, a phone that regularly cost $99 with a 3-year contract. (Although they thought I wouldn't notice when they tried to charge me the hardware fee anyway).

So if your contract is ending or you're currently not on a contract, this tactic should work for you. But what if your stuck in a contract for another year or more? You could try sites like Cellswapper or CellTradeUSA that help you find people to take over your remaining term of your cell phone contract. Once you're free you can sign up for any deal you want and get a newer, free phone (though you lose your cell number).

You could also take over someone else's contract for as little as one month. You'll save activation fees and when your contract takeover expires, you'll be able to try this little trick with the cell phone company.

Cell phone companies are not the only service companies that this trick works on. Long distance, Internet and credit card companies are equally as desperate for your business.

For example, if you want to get a lower interest rate on your credit cards, just call up your credit card company and tell them you'd like to close your account as you've found a better rate elsewhere. Say "I'd really like to stay with you but I found ." The credit card agent will most likely offer you a lower rate card right away (with an annual fee, of course). But before you jump to the phone, consider whether you really need a lower interest rate. If you don't carry a balance on your credit card, then there's really no point in paying an annual fee for a lower interest rate -- you pay no interest anyway. You'll also want to make sure the low interest credit card doesn't waive your grace period and charge you interest from the day of purchase. But if an annual fee of $25 will save you way more than $26 on interest charges per year, it's in your best interest to make the switch. Your credit card company won't offer this to you - you've got to take the initiative!

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