A cell phone bill, like many bills, arrives each month and is often paid without questioning it.
"We get used to paying that same amount every month, and you just grin and bear it," said Nick Lindwedel, president of ReviewMyBill.com, which hopes to end that habit by reviewing a customer's bill in 90 seconds online after getting a customer's cell phone number, name, online PIN number, password and contact information.
The average customer saves 28% on their cell phone bill, Lindwedel told me in a telephone interview, and it goes up to 50% for business clients.
That's how ReviewMyBill can charge such a large fee -- 33% of the annual savings it finds for customers, or four months of savings. So if it found a better phone plan that saved a customer $100 per month, ReviewMyBill would get $400 charged to the customer's credit card or checking account.
It's a service that not everyone has the time or know how to use. You could call your cell phone service provider and ask for a better deal, but a salesperson might not be so forthcoming.
"We all have limited time," Lindwedel said, "to have fun and do the stuff we do, and not the stuff that we hate. That's what I do -- I deal with the stuff people hate -- dealing with cell phone companies."
The site deals with four carriers: Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon. Having spent 11 years in the cell phone industry, Lindwedel uses a little-known Public Utilities Commission rule that phone companies must offer an existing plan to any customer who requests it. So, if you know someone with a great plan and can tell the phone company what number has that plan, you can get the same deal.
After the 90-second online bill review, ReviewMyBill only contacts carriers on the customer's behalf and has plans changed after the customer signs a contract.
"It's almost impossible for a person to get what I get out of a company," Lindwedel said.
"I'm kind of the guy who pulls back the cloak on cell phone carriers," he said.
One thing it doesn't do is suggest customers switch carriers. While he'd make more money that way, it's a lot more headaches to switch carriers. The easiest way to save money, he said, is to find a better plan with your existing carrier.
All you have to do is look behind the curtain. Or pay someone to look for you.
Aaron Crowe is a freelance journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Reach him at www.AaronCrowe.net
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