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Consumer Reports Ranks Cell Phone Carriers

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(Photo Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Photo Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – If you’re shocked by your cell phone bill, you’re not alone.

According to Consumer Reports, one in five people got an unexpectedly high bill in the past year.

Nearly 60,000 subscribers have now weighed in to help Consumer Reports determine the best services and money-savers.

Sprint’s CEO’s confidence in his company’s improvements appears to worked with customers, according to Consumer Reports’ annual cell phone survey.

“For years, Sprint has been one of lower-rated cell-phone companies in our survey. But, this year we saw a dramatic improvement,” Donato Vaccaro with Consumer Reports said.

Sprint tied with Verizon among the top carriers for cell phones with a contract. Most Sprint customers said the carrier offers a good value.

According to the survey, U.S. Cellular is better. It ranked highest for customer satisfaction.

On the flip side, AT&T was solidly in last place again in almost every category from customer support to problems making calls to value for the money.

“My iPhone bill is just, it’s over the top. There’s times I got bills for $200,” Dale Wilson said.

If you’re looking for a cell phone with no contract, a small company called Consumer Cellular came out on top.

If you prefer a greater selection of phones, Consumer Reports said to consider T-Mobile, which now offers most of its phones with a no contract option.

Consumer Reports’ survey also found that one in five people have had an unexpectedly high bill. Here are some ways to avoid that “bill shock.”

Check your use periodically. Pageonce.com sells smart-phone apps that monitor usage and sends texts or emails to warn about overages. If the way you use your phone changes, call to change the plan.

Avoid termination fees. Consider transferring the contract to someone else for a $25 fee through celltradeusa.com or cellswapper.com.

Be sure to test the phone during the initial trial period before you commit.

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