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Monday, August 15, 2005

Cell Phones: The Infinite Contract

I needed a new cell phone when I moved from Maryland to Virginia. I signed-up for one of these "2 year commitments" in order to avoid the $36 "Set-up fee" and to get a (crappy) free phone. After I thought about it some more, I really regret the decision. Committing to over $1000 of potentially mediocre or bad service just to save about $100 was a bad choice.

A 2-year contract for a cell phone is ridiculous. You don't sign a 2 year lease when you rent an apartment. You don't commit to 2 years on your cable television. (Shh, don't give them that idea.) With technology changing so fast, just think of how different cell phone service (and phones) will be in 2 years, and you will still be stuck with the crappy old stuff.

The biggest power you, the consumer, has over the vendors is the option to shop somewhere else. You give up that option when you agree to such a long term commitment. And trust me, customer "churn" is one of the biggest concerns to cell phone companies. They need your business more than you need them.

That really gets my goat.

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