It’s often not about what you say, but how you say it.

Every month, billions of people get their cell phone bill. And every month hundreds of millions of those people are being overcharged.

It’s not always on purpose. Sometimes cell phone companies make mistakes. But often enough, their customers are getting hit with hidden fees, roaming charges, and data overages. It could be a few dollars. Or it could be hundreds. Either way, it’s wrong. And if you’ve ever been overcharged, you shouldn’t have to stand for it.

But it takes time to deal with getting a refund. Customer service has been designed to slow you down. They know that people will give up if it takes too much time or it’s too hard to get through.

So what should you do? Here are the top five tips for complaints to your cell provider.

  1. Know how much time you want to spend? Life is busy. If your bill is around $5 more than usual, is it worth your time to try to get that money back? If the answer is no, that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything. If you’ve got just five minutes, consider a 2-3 line complaint on social media, making sure to mention/tag the cell phone company so their customer service team takes notice. Cell phone providers go to great lengths to maintain their reputations. So you may be surprised if they get in touch with you and offer you something.
  2. Be calm. Very calm. If you’re going to spend more than five minutes on this, start with a deep breath. If you sound frustrated or angry at the first customer service rep you speak to, you won’t get what you want. They deal with thousands of upset customers everyday. They’ll be more interested in giving the kind complainers what they want.
  3. Prepare a few lines in advance. Don’t go into a conversation with a phone rep, chatbot or live agent without being prepared. Write a line or two on exactly where you got ripped off. Have something to say about how you’ve been a loyal customer and want them to make this right. Also consider a line about wanting to be referred to their supervisor or customer retention specialist. Not a confident writer? We can inspire you with a free demand letter.
  4. Get past the front lines. If the first person you speak with isn’t giving you want you want, don’t try to wear them down too much. Ask to be transferred to their loyalty department or manager. The further up the chain you go, the more seriously they’ll take you.
  5. Once they agree to compensate you, make sure you follow up. So they’ve agreed to a refund. Now what? You’ll have to wait for it to appear on your next statement. Before you hang up though, make sure you get the person’s name and/or email address so you can follow up. What you want is the direct phone number to the customer retention line; not their general 1-800 number. And ask for a case number to make it easier to track your call.

If you want to learn more about your rights when it comes to cell phone bill complaints, check out this page from the People’s Law School (specific to Canada).

Ready to start complaining? Get going with a free demand letter.

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