Americans aren't known for their haggling skills, but they better learn fast if they want to keep their phone costs under control. That's just one piece of advice from the February issue of Consumer Reports, which analyzes hundreds of cell and land-line phone service plans.
According to the report, most consumers still pay full fare for long distance, at prices starting at 25 cents per minute. The price range is particularly wide with cell-phone service, where smart buyers can save $70 to $500 per year.
To see if you're being short-changed, visit www.consumerreports.com and use an online worksheet to analyze your cell-phone bill. For other comparison resources, log on to www.abelltolls.com, www.cognigen.com, www.saveonphone.com or www.trac.org.
Eric Brown is a freelance writer living in the Boston area.