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Approaching Minute-Limit Notification

Avoid going over your minutes.
  [vote for,

T-Mobile has a great service called Smart Access. Basically, what it does is it puts a $150.00 limit on your monthly bill, so if you go over your minutes, it suspends your service as soon as your bill reaches $150.00 so you don't rack up an extremely high bill. You get a text message warning when it gets to $130.00.

Two problems with this service:

1) it's only available for people with little or bad credit history.

2) It waits until you owe $130.00.

What I want is a service that allows you to get a text message notification *before* you go over your limit, so you can avoid getting any overage fees at all, and I want it available to all customers. I see no reason I shouldn't have access to the same benefits as another customer just because I've always paid my bills on time and avoided getting into debt.

I realize that there is not currently a company in existence that would ever do this, since overage fees are a major source of revenue for them, but if there was a monthly service charge of, say, $5.00, to have this notification service set up for you, I think that could be mitigated somewhat.

Even a monthly service charge wouldn't come even close to compensating for the overage fees being given up, so no corporate entity would even consider this. But I think it's a great idea, and maybe a new company could use this plan to steal customers from other companies.

21 Quest, Dec 02 2006

Cingular Minutes Minder Firefox Extension http://cingularminutes.blogspot.com/
Doesn't alert you by phone, but gives you the same info in your browser's status line. [land, Dec 04 2006]

Verizon Minutes Used Firefox Extension http://verizon-minutes-used.blogspot.com/
Same thing for Verizon... Page links to a similar extension for T-Mobile. [land, Dec 04 2006]


       I like how you manage to shoot down your own idea and explain why no company would ever use such a scheme. I tend to present ideas in much the same way. Probably why I have only submitted one idea to the HB.
Salmon Of Doubt, Dec 02 2006

       I figure if I don't point it out, somebody else will. And I think it would work for a new company that won't actually suffer a decrease in revenue if they make it available when they first open their doors.

       Another way to make this economically feasible for existing companies would be to make it available only for customers with at least a year's tenure. But make it available for *all* customers who've been around for over a year.
21 Quest, Dec 02 2006

       Previously baked, but it's back to dough now.

       When I first signed up with Sprint, they had an option that would cause a distinctive beep during phone conversations (kind of like call-waiting, but a different beep) when my minutes started running low. They subsequently disabled that feature, along with everything else I liked about their service. They also continued to bill me for several months after I cancelled my service.

       Someday, I might get another cell phone, but never again will I buy anything from Sprint.
wyrm, Dec 02 2006

       You too? I got billed every month for 6 months for a plan I never started.

       I tried to order 2 phones on a family plan online through Sprint, but when a week went by and I never got the phones, I called and they said my order confirmation number was invalid and no account was ever opened in my name. 2 months later I came home to find a box sitting on my doorstep with 2 phones, along with a bill for the full price of both of them. I spoke on the phone with a supervisor who told me to take the phones to the nearest Sprint store and they'd handle it, but the store manager refused to take anything ordered online. I left the box on his desk and walked out, then called customer care line and explained what happened. I still got a bill every month for 6 months, despite repeated calls and complaints I made.
21 Quest, Dec 02 2006

       So there's a business opportunity for a third party, not a phone company, here, providing that people are willing to trust such a business with their cell phone account password...

       Most carriers have a WML or web page that owners can visit to see how many minutes they've used. Generally, it requires either that you access it from the mobile device or give some fairly secret info, such as the last four digits of your Social Security Number.

       Once you've signed up with mobileminutes.com (or whatever) and given them the requisite info, the service will ping that page periodically and as threshholds are crossed, send a text messages.

       This service, which 21_Quest so ably convinces us that the carriers would never provide, might be worth a couple of bucks a month to some cell phonies.
land, Dec 04 2006

       This is now well and truly Baked for Android smartphones (not sure about other device types). T-Mobile's "My Account" app allows you to set usage alerts for Data, SMS, and Voice calls. The Norton Utilities app also allows you to set usage alerts, as well as allowing you to set specific limits that you want to be alerted at, not just the limit imposed by your plan. Would've been nice 5 years ago...
21 Quest, Aug 08 2011


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