smart spending

7 effective ways you can tackle high fees

Question charges on phone or Internet bills
Question charges on phone or Internet bills © Thorsten Rust/

If your bill is "bundled" by combining services such as cable TV, cellphone and Internet, be sure you are getting the TV channels, extra packages, cellphone minutes and services, and the Internet speed for which you are paying.

For example, on landline phone bills, check for "cramming," or suspicious fees from outside companies for additional services such as long-distance charges, voice mail and others that you may not have requested. The Federal Communications Commission says the biggest problem is that only about 5 percent of customers notice the fees because they are not checking their monthly bills.

Getting help

  • Request a block of third-party charges to avoid cramming, and ask for immediate removal of suspicious charges.
  • Learn more about phone charges by reading the guide "Understanding your telephone bill" at
  • Take the "I want to test my broadband connection" test at to make sure you're getting the Web speed for which you are paying.


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