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FCC to consumers: Here, you take the keys!

It’s hard to believe that it’s actually illegal to take a smartphone to a new carrier, without getting your old carrier’s permission, even if you’ve already paid for the device in full. In fact, it’s so absurdly illegal that the maximum penalty is a $500,000 fine and up to five years…...

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A gut punch to cellphone scam artists

We hope this is the beginning of the end for the insidious “cramming” scam. The nation’s big four cellphone companies are voluntarily banning most premium texting services from their bills–charges that have been a major culprit in the scam. The agreement was pushed by 45 state attorneys general, including Illinois’…...

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Five things to remember when buying a new cellphone

Two months ago I was debating whether or not to buy a new smartphone. My contract was over, my once powerful smartphone had lost its lightning speed, and I realized I was paying a premium monthly charge for a cellphone subsidy I had long since paid off. The internal debate raged…...

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Paid TV fails the lie detector test

Ever gotten the bait and switch from your cable company? Nowadays the best strategy to keep your TV and Internet bill low appears to be calling every few months to negotiate. CUB believes consumers should have the option of paying only for the channels they watch. If you agree, take…...

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Shouldn’t you be able to ‘unlock’ a cellphone that YOU own?

Love your smartphone but not your wireless carrier? You might be out of luck. Last October, the Library of Congress adjusted its interpretation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The result is it’s now illegal for customers to “unlock” smartphones without first getting their carrier’s permission—even if they own…...

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Time to break up with your smartphone?

This summer, my smartphone and I celebrated our two-year anniversary. We didn’t do anything fancy to celebrate—just sent a few text messages and watched a video on YouTube. To me, it’s still the same handheld device that took my breath away in the Verizon store two years ago, but lately…...

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Local Phone Cost-cutter analyzes 50,000th bill!

CUB is celebrating a milestone this week: Our free online service, the Local Phone Cost-Cutter, just analyzed its 50,000th phone bill. That means the tool has shown Illinois consumers how to cut their AT&T local phone bills by $9.9 million per year—definitely a reason to celebrate! The Local Phone Cost-Cutter, created…...

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Demand better from Big Cable!

It’s easy to get frustrated scrolling through your cable TV lineup. First, there’s probably nothing on. Second, you’re likely paying good money for all of that nothing. A CUB survey on cable TV indicates more than 78 percent of consumers are frustrated with their cable provider—mostly because of pricing. Another 90 percent…...

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Is cable a waste of money, or not?

A new survey by CouponCabin.com indicates 45 percent of consumers think paying for cable TV is a waste of money. But here’s the kicker: 81 percent of us pay for it anyway. What do those numbers say? We don’t seem to mind paying for the programs and channels we actually…...

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Got a smartphone? You’re probably overpaying for data

Illinois consumers are overspending on cellphone data plans by $1.4 billion dollars each year. That’s according to a report released today by CUB and wireless research firm Validas. The report, based on an analysis of more than 100,000 wireless bills nationwide, shows that the vast majority of cellphone users are…...

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