CUB Launches New Online Tool to Help Consumers Avoid Unnecessary Cell-Phone Charges, State-of-the-Art Service Could Save Consumers Hundreds of Dollars a Year

2008-08-13 10:34:00




    CHICAGO, Aug. 13 /EMWNews/ -- The Citizens Utility Board

(CUB) on Wednesday launched the "CUB Cellphone Saver," a state-of-the art

online tool that automatically analyzes individual wireless bills,

identifying the cheapest calling plans, providing customized money-saving

tips, spotting billing errors, and potentially cutting a caller's costs by

hundreds of dollars a year.



    The tool can be found at http://www.CUBCellphoneSaver.com.



    "In a world of skyrocketing energy prices and a struggling economy,

consumers want tools that can show them easy ways to protect their bottom

line," CUB Executive Director David Kolata said. "Our job is to fight for

cheaper telephone, electric, and natural gas rates, and the CUB Cellphone

Saver is another weapon in our arsenal. We are thrilled to offer such a

groundbreaking service that within seconds can cut through cell-phone

confusion and show consumers how to save money."



    During the initial testing phase, the CUB Cellphone Saver showed

consumers how to cut their wireless bills by an average of about $260 a

year.



    In four simple steps, the CUB Cellphone Saver allows residential

customers of the five biggest wireless companies -- AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile,

U.S. Cellular, and Verizon -- to upload an online copy of their bill for a

full analysis. In a matter of seconds, a report shows the cheapest plans

offered by those carriers, given the cell-phone usage reflected on the

consumer's bill. People already on their carrier's cheapest plan get a

message alerting them of that fact.



    The tool also shows consumers ways they can cut their current bills

without switching carriers and paying an "exit" fee for leaving a wireless

contract early.



    For example, the tool could spot a costly service a consumer doesn't

need, recommend switching to a cheaper plan within the same carrier, or

identify billing errors.



    An "Email My Carrier" button allows consumers to send their wireless

company an e-mail requesting specific money-saving changes, based on the

Cellphone Saver's analysis. Helpful videos and a "Frequently Asked

Questions" section explain each step.



    The CUB Cellphone Saver is still considered a work in progress, so CUB

encourages anyone who uses it to send their thoughts and questions through

the tool's "Comments" page so the consumer group can continue to improve

it.



    To use the CUB Cellphone Saver, residential customers must have online

billing with one of the biggest five carriers. (The companies offer online

billing for free, and they allow customers to continue to get a paper bill

unless they request otherwise.) Prepaid plans and business plans, as well

as AT&T bills that combine wireless and landline service do not work with

the tool.



    The software behind CUB's Cellphone Saver is provided by a company

called Validas, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas.



    This is the latest online tool offered by CUB. In 2007, it launched the

"Local Phone Cost-cutter," which recently reached the milestone of showing

consumers how to save a total of $3 million by finding the right local

calling plan.



    CUB is Illinois' leading nonprofit utility watchdog organization. It

was created by the Illinois legislature in 1983 to represent the interests

of residential and small-business utility customers and since then has

saved consumers more than $10 billion by blocking rate hikes and securing

refunds. For more information, call CUB's Consumer Hotline at

1-800-669-5556 or visit http://www.CitizensUtilityBoard.org.





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