Citizens Utility Board says cell phone bills too high

Citizens Utility Board says cell phone bills too high

CHAMPAIGN — Nearly three out of four Illinois residents are paying more than they should for cell phone service, the Citizens Utility Board estimated today.

The consumer advocacy group said it appears cell phone subscribers, on average, pay about $27.61 a month more than they need to, and they fail to use 7 hours and 19 minutes of the time they pay for each month.

Those results are based on 6,985 people whose cell phone bills were analyzed by CUB’s online tool, CUB CellphoneSaver. The tool can be accessed at

Appearing at the Champaign Public Library on Monday morning, Bryan McDaniel, senior policy analyst for CUB, offered tips for cutting cell phone bills:

— Don’t buy handset insurance. It’s often so limited that it’s useless.

— Don’t buy roadside assistance features, especially if you’re already covered by AAA.

— Don’t dial 411 on a cell phone. Instead, get directory assistance by calling toll-free numbers, such as 1-800-FREE-411 or 1-800-INFO FAST.

About 9.3 percent of the bills analyzed had penalties for going over the plan’s allotted minutes, and those penalties averaged $40 per bill, the group said.

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