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TIPS


TIP 1:

Review your phone bill every month to be sure you are billed only for what you requested and at the rates you were quoted.  Call your phone company if you have any questions.

TIP 2:

Discounts for local service are available for eligible low-income consumers.

TIP 3:

Get on the “Do Not Call” list to help stop telemarketers’ calls. Go to www.donotcall.gov

TIP 4:

Read contracts and other written materials before you buy any service and before you sign.

TIP 5:

Don’t be taken in by the collect-call scam.  If you don’t know the person mentioned by the operator, don’t accept the call.

TIP 6:

To avoid the possibility of expensive long distance charges, avoid returning calls to area codes that you don’t recognize.

TIP 7:

When you call your phone company for help, write down the date, the name or employee ID number of the person you spoke to, and what that person agreed to do.

TIP 8:

Ask your phone company if it charges your account whole minutes for any partial minutes made on calls.

TIP 9:

Drivers using hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.

TIP 10:

Pay all undisputed charges when they are due to avoid disconnection and/or late payment fees.

TIP 11:

As part of deciding what company to subscribe to, consider what type of bill you need to receive.  Some companies provide bills free on the Internet, but charge for detailed or paper bills.

TIP 12:

Before you buy, consider whether you want access to 900 and 976 numbers, which provide information or entertainment for a fee.  If you don’t want them, ask if they can be blocked.

TIP 13:

Keep your home phone company’s yearly notice that explains its policies and services.

TIP 14:

Change the password to your voicemail often to avoid having someone else gain access to your service.

TIP 15:

You may choose to list only your name in, or keep your name and address out of, telephone directories for a small monthly fee.  Ask your landline (or local) phone company for details.

TIP 16:

Do not give personal information over the phone unless you are certain that you know to whom you are speaking.

TIP 17:

Evaluate your options for service and shop around to make sure you select the best plan to meet your calling pattern needs and budget.

TIP 18:

If you’re on the low-income telephone service (California LifeLine) program, don’t forget to send in your re-certification form to remain eligible.

TIP 19:

Not all 911 services identify where you’re calling from so when you dial, be certain  to tell the emergency worker where you are.

TIP 20:

Some VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and cable service equipment may not work during power outages.  Ask your provider if your equipment has battery back-up.

TIP 21:

Don’t wait all day for a utility worker to come to your home.  Ask for a four-hour window for your appointment.

TIP 22:

When a service technician comes to your home, ask to see an ID badge.

TIP 23:

Keep a phone that doesn’t need electricity on hand in case of power outages.

TIP 24:

If your home wireline phone has no dial-tone or there’s static on the line, try unplugging all phones, wait five minutes and then reconnect one to see if the problem clears.

TIP 25:

If the wireline service in a house needs repair, the phone company will cover costs to repair its facilities including the wiring that connects to the home.  If you are renting, the landlord must maintain one phone outlet but if you own your home, you are responsible for the costs to repair wiring inside the house.

TIP 26:

Understand how downloads, such as ring tones, can be purchased from a wireless phone and educate your family about their costs.

TIP 27:

Be aware of the services your children are accessing on their wireless phones.  Some of it may involve content not suitable for them.  Ask your company if you can block any of these services.

TIP 28:

Ask your wireless company how to track the minutes you use.  Check your usage frequently to avoid unexpected extra charges.

TIP 29:

If you lose your cell phone, call your company immediately to avoid getting charged for someone else’s use.

TIP 30:

Test your wireless phone and the plan’s features, and coverage area, during the trial period.  That way, if you are not satisfied, you can cancel before being charged early termination fees.

TIP 31:

Get in the habit of frequently charging your wireless phone battery to avoid losing power while using it.

TIP 32:

If you are switching wireless companies and are keeping your phone number, do not cancel your current company before working out details with your new company or you might lose your number.

TIP 33:

Before you buy service, evaluate all the options, especially the company’s coverage area, to select a company and service that meets your needs.

TIP 34:

If someone pretending to be from your phone company tricked you into changing phone companies, get help from the CPUC Fraud Hotline by calling 800-649-7570.

TIP 35:

If you use your cell phone while traveling near the Canadian or Mexican border, check to be sure that your cell phone company is not charging you for international calls and roaming.  

TIP 36:

If your service has been switched to another company without your permission, you have been slammed.  Contact your local phone company or your preferred long distance company to be switched back to your preferred company.  For more information, please read our brochure on “Slamming.”

TIP 37:

Be safe!  Do not use your cell phone while driving, recommends the California Highway Patrol and the Office of Traffic Safety.  For more information, see: http://www.chp.ca.gov/depts_divs_offs/omr_menu_texting.html 

TIP 38:

Texting takes your eyes off the road for an average of five seconds, long enough to travel the length of a football field at 55 mph.  Most crashes happen with less than 3 seconds' reaction time.

TIP 39:

If you receive charges on your telephone bill that you did not authorize, you have been "crammed."  Contact your phone company to dispute these charges.  For more information, please read our brochure on "Cramming."

TIP 40:

Do you need help with telecommunications or other issues?  You may call the CPUC and our staff, or language interpreters, will assist you in your preferred language.  Please call 800-649-7570 for assistance with a utility or telecommunications complaint, 800-388-4782 for Household Goods Movers information, or 415-703-2782 for general information.
 

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