Your Cellular Bills – Clarity or Confusion?

Why do cell phone companies make their bills so hard to understand? Is it something they do intentionally? Is it a scheme used to prevent the consumer from truly understanding what they are paying for? How does this benefit the Cellular companies? And more importantly, how does it work against the consumer?

Confusing statements have been a staple in the Cellular industry for as long as we can remember. Transparency has never been one of its trademark qualities. They make it so subscribers can’t just pick up their statements and understand exactly what they’re paying for.  Many consumers hate nothing more than opening up their cell phone bills, only to find higher than expected charges without a clear, obvious explanation as to the reason. So, why do Cellular companies do this?

In our experience, confusing statements are a tactic used by the provider to overwhelm the consumer and make understanding them a job in and of itself. They want the consumer to feel overwhelmed – to the point where they will just put it down and pay the bill. How can someone argue over the cost of a bill or see where they are going wrong if they can’t understand that same bill to begin with?

What started as a device simply used to make and receive phone calls is now being used for a variety of things: emailing, text messaging and surfing the internet, just to name a few. The cell phone has transformed from a “want” to a “need” and has become integral for the large majority of Canadians, as evidenced by its 75% plus penetration rate. Recent figures show that over 27 Million Canadians use cellular technology, representing a $19 billion industry.  And as consumers and businesses continue to increase their use of these devices, they also continue to increase their costs.

Could the Cellular companies make their statements clear and easy to understand?  Absolutely they could.   The reality is, they don’t want to.  By clearly showing what is working for the subscriber, and more importantly what is not working, it would end so much confusion and at the same time satisfy their customers. So why do they choose to make it so confusing?

The answer is simple: because it is profitable.  Your cellular statements are confusing by design… and it should come as no surprise that erroneous billing represents a significant revenue stream for Cellular providers. The less the consumer understands their bills, the less chance that they will question it.   How is a consumer supposed to know if they are paying the right price when they have trouble even understanding what they are paying for in the first place? All we know is we are told our plan would be $50 (for example), and when we open the bill we often see it is double, or even triple that.

But there is help out there.  There are experts in the cellular industry who exist to aid the Canadian consumer by analyzing their statements in order to simplify their bills and re-structure their cellular plans, allowing them to pay the lowest possible price for what they use.

When it comes to not understanding your cell phone bills, you are not alone. The majority of Canadian Wireless subscribers don’t understand what their bill is telling them. And that is exactly the way the cell phone companies want it to be.

Look for our next article, which will discuss the most common reasons your cellular bills are probably higher than they should (and could) be.


Since 2007, Save Cell Communications Corp. has been helping individuals, families, small to medium sized business and large corporations save money on all of their communications costs (cell phones, land lines, internet and cable TV), optimizing their services while giving them a clear understanding of their Wireless landscape.

For more information, contact:

Bob Charendoff
Save Cell Communications 
160 Tycos Drive
Toronto, ON  M6B 1W8

In photo: Bob Charendoff (right) and Jamie Chadwick (left)

One comment

  1. So true!!! I can never understand my bills… and it’s no surprise that it’s set up that way. Calling these guys to fix me up…!

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