Thursday, September 06, 2012

The New Cell Phone Math

Truth in advertising...

Puppy Patrol breaks away from  leash to go slay raccoon stealing his food. copyright by dear miss mermaid
Puppy Patrol breaks away from  leash to go slay raccoon stealing his food.
I must be getting old. I don't understand how it is that so much deceptive marketing is in place and readily accepted by consumers. Whatever has happened to good old fashioned honesty?

I have just learned how my cell phone company does business. What is it about cell phone companies and dirty little practices?  I wish they could do stand up business without deception, trickery and ridiculously long fine print.

The cell phone companies apparently use "new math" that is so new, the rest of us have never heard of it. 

In the past I have ranted and raved about cell and mobile internet carriers. I thought my cell company was decent, but recently I found out they are just as devious, sneaky and shifty  as most any other cell company.

Cell Phone Service Riddle Number One

Your cell phone plan includes 250 minutes per month.
The company offers you "Get 500 minutes for $5"
You buy the $5 worth of extra minutes

You have not used any minutes at all. How many total minutes do you have?

(A) 250
(B) 500
(C) 750
(D) -0-

If you said 750 like I did, then you are dead wrong. According to my cell company 250+500 does not equal 750.

250+500=500 according to their new math.

Here is how they explained it...

When you pay the extra $5 you are getting 500 minutes for the month. But since you have already received 250 minutes from the monthly allotment or whatever they call that now,  then they only owe you 250 more minutes to make it a round 500 minutes for the month.


I just think this is so ridiculously misleading.

It should say "Add 250 minutes to your account for $5"  not "Get 500 minutes for $5".

Riddle TWO

Your cell phone month begins on the 3rd each month (cell phone companies use different calendars from the rest of us).

You have 250 minutes included each month.  These are added to your phone on the 3rd each month. The plan has no rollover (of unused minutes.)

On the 29th, you are down to 5 minutes left and you need to make calls.
You pay the $5 fee and get an additional 250 minutes.  By their math  you were allotted 250 minutes on the 3rd, you used 245, leaving 5 minutes, you add on 250 more you bought, so now you have 255 minutes on the 29th.

You make 55 minutes of calls. 255-55=200 so now you have 200 minutes left.

On the 3rd, your 250 "plan included" monthly minutes are added in.

You now have total minutes of:

(A) 200
(B) 250
(C) 450
(D) -0-

The correct answer according to the cell phone company is 250. You have a "no rollover" plan. The extra 250 minutes you bought 3 days ago are NOT rolled over, because that special gave you 500 minutes for the month.  They count the extra monthly minutes you bought from the start of your cell month, not from the date you bought them.

Since your original plan doesn't roll over, neither do any "extra" purchased minutes, no matter when you purchased them.

So per their new month, all you get is 250 minutes added in for the new month and you lose the other 200 minutes you paid extra for because you have a "no rollover plan."

To confound the confusion, the customer service rep told me I should be buying the 500 minutes for $5  at the beginning of the cell month (on the 3rd or close after)  so that I have all month long to use them all.


I guess I need to add a new budget item and call it "SCAMS".

More than once I've been scammed by misleading marketing.  I feel like an idiot.

I would expect trickery and deception in far flung dictator type countries, but not in America, where corporations should surely know better.

I'd like to see more open honesty in simple transactions.

Life is complicated enough.

Oh and the raccoon (above) is a toy, not real. 
copyright by dear miss mermaid, Kenansville Florida three lakes wildlife management
Kenansville, Florida


  1. That's why all I have is a pay as you go phone.I know exactly what I'm getting.Cellphone companies are rip offs.

  2. Let me guess ...was this AT&T?

  3. We use pay as you go Tracfone when we travel for 4 months in our RV, works out great and unused minutes are carried over. Just bought 400 minutes good for 365 days for $99.95 plus tax= 106.95 and I get an extra 400 minutes for the life of my phone for buying a tracfone for $9.95. Good luck at your new workamping job!

  4. mermaid. you the mermaid! billy


Life is goof!