NEW SURVEY - CELL PHONE OVERAGE FEES NUMBER ONE COMPLAINT AGAINST CELLULAR PROVIDERS
A Dallas-Based company is determined to stop overage charges by doing what cell phone providers can easily do but don't to increase profits. MinuteAlert will send subscribers an email and/or a text message when their cell phone's minutes are about to expire.
[ClickPress, Sat Feb 17 2007] In a recent survey of its subscribers’ cellular usage, PersonalMaestro.com found that unexpected charges on cell phone bills were the number one complaint. Topping the list of unexpected charges were overage fees (per-minute charges when users go over their monthly allotted premium minutes). In response to the overwhelming requests by its customers, Maestro has launched a spin-off company that provides automatic alerts to subscribers when they are about to go over their “anytime” minutes. This new service is called Minute Alert and can be found at www.MinuteAlert.com.
Another recent industry survey found that almost all cellular providers levied overage fees. The average overage fee was $0.43/minute, with Verizon and Cingular leading with $0.45/minute.
“The inspiration for the service came when I received a bill from my provider that included a charge of $54 for 124 overage minutes, in effect doubling my normal monthly cell phone expense,” said Kfir Alfia, founder of Minute Alert and Managing Partner of PersonalMaestro.com. “What was most frustrating was that cell phone providers, if they wanted to, could easily alert their users when anytime minutes are used up. But the reality is that they are raking in significant revenue from overages and are reluctant to help their customers avoid these exorbitant penalties.”
98% of those polled in Minute Alert’s survey who had incurred cell phone minute overages, stated they would have reduced cell phone usage if they had known they had run out of minutes. 57% stated they would have ceased cell phone usage until the next billing cycle. 89% stated that they used their cell phones even though they could have easily used a landline at the time. Although most carriers give users the ability to check minutes from their cell phone, 82% of respondents reported never using this service with 69% of those not even knowing how.
“After a fruitless search for a service that would automatically alert me when I went over my minutes, I decided to create a service that would do exactly that”, Alfia said.
Users who sign up for Minute Alert pay as low as $9.95 for a whole year of service ($0.83 per month). With overage fees averaging $20 per month, Minute Alert is determined to help cell phone users significantly cut down on their monthly cell phone expense. Minute Alert also gives subscribers the option of monitoring the minutes for one cell phone account and have the alerts sent to a different cell phone. With this option, Minute Alert plans to help parents monitor their children’s cell phone usage, where overage charges can easily skyrocket. Other features include the ability to set a minute threshold, determining when the first alert is to be sent, and optional weekly or daily minute usage updates. Alerts are sent via text message, through email, or both.
Maestro, Minute Alert’s parent company, is a personal assistant service that subscribers pay for by the minute. Callers can ask any question about anything or have agents perform virtually any task. Subscribers can call from anywhere in the country and are greeted by name with every call.