When your phone service isn’t what it should be, what’s the next step? Shopping around for a better phone service is a matter of knowing what the market can provide to the consumer, how well the company will serve one’s needs, and whether their pricing will remain consistent each year when the contract needs to be resigned.

Let’s look into the basics of choosing a new phone service to replace the bad provider who drops calls, has poor customer service and costs too much…

What the Market Provides
Today’s phone service providers can give the consumer good reception, a decent contract, good customer service for any queries one may have, and special plans for family use and extra line discounts.

If any of these are not available with your current provider, there may be a better service for you. Start an online search, or try T-Mobile and other providers who do not force 2-year contracts straight away. If you are fortunate, find a month-by-month plan that is still competitive, does not drop calls, and allows you to contact customer service with your questions most days of the week from 6AM-5PM.

What is a Good Price for Phone Service
For basic land line service, you should expect to pay anywhere from $8 to $10 a month. For cell phone service, it could range from as low as $48 a month to as high as $70.

How Well Do They Live Up to The Contract
Once you have chosen your phone service provider, test the contract. Are they really as reliable as they promised, or are you losing calls ‘left and right’? If the pricing structure changes mid-way through the contract and they did not inform you properly, you may have a legal case. But, if you’re like most people who did not read the contract because it was twenty pages long….don’t worry. Now you know that X phone service is lousy; feel free to spread the rumors about them — if their reputation fails at some point, they will learn and adapt their service. As for your contract…wait for it to expire and don’t sign another one with them!

If your phone service is good, and you have not had any problems so far then you have found a good deal; stay with them until they change.

Pricing Changes in Phone Service
Some providers are tricky: they will charge more for a phone, or a contract over a long-term basis, and make you pay a lot more than their service is actually worth.
Take heed: consider the actual cost of a phone, the service, the data rates, and other important details before signing any papers or giving your card information.

If the contract said $50 per month and after three months it is $65 for any reason- it’s time to complain to customer service and speak to a supervisor. Text message fees must not be exorbitant, though they often are with today’s government regulated phone companies; pay close attention to them, as they are what phone companies are making the biggest buck on.

Phone services that do not provide excellent coverage of your area, drop calls regularly and change their pricing structure for any reason are not reliable services. Most people who go grocery shopping and find customer service there to be mean or unhelpful will stop shopping at that location…so do the same for the phone service company, teach them that it’s not OK to mistreat customers.

Find a better service via another company. Generally, Verizon will try to force 2-year contracts on customers in return they would receive $50 phone replacements, or something inexpensive to them. 2-year contracts are highly undesirable, especially with termination fees. Avoid them at all costs as this is a form of extortion in business.

Recently one phone company made it to the courts due to a lawsuit over the termination fees. These cases involved the data plan termination fees (some went higher than $230 for canceling a contract!)….no cases have earned the spotlight with regard to similarly unfair termination fees WITHOUT the data plans.

Phone services are not the most pleasant to shop around for, and some of the deals can be downright outrageous scams. Be diligent with reading contract clauses, especially regarding changes in month-to-month pricing of data. If you put more time into reading these clauses, you may have lesser problems with your phone service — and hopefully, will never have to switch to another company for a better service.