Report: Illinoisans Spend Too Much on Cell Phones

August 17, 2009

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A utility watchdog says Illinois residents are spending too much money for cell phone service.

The Chicago-based Citizens Utility Board says it analyzed nearly 7,000 cell phone bills and found the average Illinoisan spends $27.61 a month on, well, extra junk.

Executive Director David Kolata says that includes hundreds of unused text messages, "useless" phone insurance and, of course, assorted fees and surcharges.

KOLATA: It's not really transparent, and it does lead to a situation where a price will be marketed for $35 a month, and then when you open your bill it's actually $45...I think [it's] certainly a bit of a red flag.

The report says a majority of cell phone users pay for hundreds of unused minutes every month.

Kolata says people often buy too many minutes because they're hit with hefty charges if they go over.

He says cell phone carriers should be more transparent about their pricing so consumers know what they're buying.

Read the full report from the Citizens Utility Board