Changing cell phone plans? Beware of pro-rating!

Verizon signLast month I shared my quest to save money by reviewing our cell phone bill. I found that we could get unlimited texting on all of our lines without any increase in our monthly rate. This was a huge deal since my sister was as familiar with text overages as the Cookie Monster is with cookies! Due to the amount of texts already sent I decided to do something I should have avoided, I switched plans mid billing cycle. Most places this wouldn't be a huge deal, but Verizon's billing system is arranged to maximize confusion for users and profit for the company.

Since the switch occurred mid month Verizon pro-rated the text message plan on my sister's phone. Normally this means I get some money refunded and it only appears that I was ripped off on the bill. This time however was different. Even though the plan she was on was for 1,500 text messages and we switched to an unlimited plan Verizon decided that the allotment of messages at the time we switched was 913, which just happened to be 403 below what she had already sent resulting in a huge overage.Verizon's unique billing method of refunding $6 only to charge $40 for text message overages is ridiculous! I ended up getting the money refunded after a 20 minute phone call Saturday night. Thankfully the customer service rep I spoke to was kind enough to "pull some strings" and reverse the charge even though the billing system was supposedly in the right. Lessons learned from this adventure include, don't switch your cell phone plan mid month and if Verizon ever screws up your bill restitution is only a phone call away.

Do you have any cell phone billing horror stories? How much do you need to be over-billed to call up and demand money back?

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