Upgrading to any new phone can cost a fortune, because of all the extra charges you get hit with.
So you may be interested to know which carriers have the most, and which have the fewest, sneaky fees.
Phone users frustrated by hidden fees
It's becoming so common: Signing up for a cell phone plan that sounds affordable, only to be shocked at all the hidden extra fees.
Adrian Miller said "I have like a $50 data plan, next thing I know I have an extra 100 bucks on my bill every plan every month."
Sound familiar? Many of us can't even figure out what we are paying for.
Stephanie York said, "I don't even know what I'm being charged for honestly. I just pay it every month because i have to."
Her friend Elizabeth Rogers said "I think it's ridiculous, may bill is always over $100 and it's just my own individual plan, I hate it!"
A new survey by the website Cheapism.com says unexpected fees can add another 20 percent to your bill. Among them:
--State and local taxes.
--The Universal Service Fund.
--411 Directory Assistance fees.
--New phone activation and upgrade fees, which can be $60 or more.
--Overages: Don't go over on your data plan. That's instantly another $15 on most carriers.
Bart Vanderzee knows that too well. "It's getting out of control, the data usage stuff drives me nuts," he said.
The most, and fewest fees
But Cheapism compared rates and found some big differences among major carriers.
T-mobile is the low price winner, with the fewest hidden fees. Also, there's no charge for activating or upgrading.
Verizon is next cheapest for upgrade and activation fees, though Cheapism says Verizon has the highest early termination fee, at over $300. So Verizon can't be considered "low cost," it says.
AT&T and Sprint tie for the highest upgrade and activation fees. But Sprint gets a pass because it is the last major carrier that still offers unlimited data for anyone.
So if you are looking for the lowest upgrade fees, and fewest extra charges, Cheapism calls T-Mobile the winner.
Perhaps the biggest sneaky fee? International roaming charges.Check with your carrier before you travel out of the country.
The bottom line: Don't expect to pay $75 a month for your $75 a month smartphone, unless you go with prepaid, where you pay everything upfront each month.
That way you don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.
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