Tuesday, October 19

I Think I'm Stealing from my Wireless Carrier

cartoon credit here

True Story.
I switched jobs back in May and have "forgotten" to inform my wireless company about the change because of all things, my former company gets a better discount. A much better discount. Like 19% compared to 12%. Which over the year adds up to $240 saved on my $100/month bill as opposed to $144.  I never really gave it much thought until today when I received an e-mail that changes had been made to my account "in accordance with the agreement made with my employer". At first I had thought that I had been busted and in turn they had removed the discount but instead when I logged into my account I found out they had increased it by 1% (nice).

I really have never even thought twice about my decision to continue to use my former employers discount  until Debt Ninja wrote this post last week about his friend. Long story short his friend paid for lunch with a $20 and received $24 back in change. Debt Ninja made the point that his friend was stealing. Which made me start to think. Does this count as stealing?

Really I like to think I'm just taking advantage of an inefficient system that also happens to overcharge for cellphone service. (Come on, does text messaging really have to cost so darn much) However the moral part of me, the same part that felt guilty for winning the Coach gift card on my own blog, kind of feels like I should fess up.

What would you do?


  1. My boyfriend has been paying $30 a month on a fantastic plan from his old company for years. He also hasn't worked there in years. It's a catch 22 but I consider this giving less money to the rich and not stealing from the poor. Is the $44 you aren't paying the cellphone companies going to put them out of business? Probably not.

  2. It is stealing, but not in the same way as the guy getting incorrect change back. Getting the wrong change back means at the end of the night that cashier is going to be short serious money in her till, and that money may come out of her paycheck or even get her fired. Getting a discount on your wireless isn't really hurting one particular person. In fact, the reason your ex-company's rate was just made better probably has to do with the number of people on the plan to begin with. I'm not giving you permission to keep stealing. I just don't see how it is hurting anyone, so if it were me I would keep taking advantage.

  3. That's a tough one. On one hand, I want to say that cell phone companies totally rip their customers off and so maybe it's not such a bad thing if you get an extra discount. But on the other hand, now that you are aware of the situation, it's probably the more honest thing to make the correction now.
    I have had some situations where I question what is the right thing. But in the end I really want to be a person who has good character and integrity. So I usually tend to do the "right" thing.
    Look at it this way, you got a pretty good extra deal for a while, and although you may not save as much by switching your employer information..at least you are saving something! Trust me, you'll feel better about yourself too :)

  4. It's not stealing in the way that the man got $24 back, because it doesn't directly hurt any one individual, but from my understanding of economics, you might be saving some money by taking advantage of this inefficient system, but the companies will simply charge someone else more to balance it out. The companies aren't gonna lose money from this, they'll simply make the money off of someone else. At the end of the day, it probably isn't the "right" thing to do.

  5. I would make it right and tell them. Fess Up. You will feel better.

  6. I think this situation could be compared to the way airlines price their fares. Not every seat on an airplane costs the same. The cheapest seats are usually the advertised specials that sound so affordable and they only offer a few of them. The bulk of them are in the middle, price-wise and some of the seats are outrageously expensive because they are last-minute tickets. The airplane is making the trip whether those last minute seats are sold or not so why are they so much more expensive? I think your phone discount could be viewed this way and it is quite possible the phone company doesn't care that you are getting this discount because if you "fess up" they run the risk of you looking elsewhere for a phone service provider. I don't think they would offer any business a discount that would actually hurt their bottom line. It actually makes me question why they don't offer more discounts to average everyday customers.

  7. i still get a discount at the gym for a job that i havent work at in over 18 months. nothing wrong with saving some $$$

  8. I honestly wouldn't worry about my BF does the same thing with our cell phone bill. I woudln't call this stealing, I would call it someone elses oversight.


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