Sweet-Sounding Deals That Are Actually Awful

Just because a deal sounds appealing at first glance doesn’t mean it will hold up to scrutiny. Yahoo digs up eight pieces of fool’s gold that don’t pan out if you’re looking to save money. Tops among these is unlimited long distance:

Many telephone plans bundle “free” unlimited long-distance service with local calling service. If you don’t make a lot of long-distance calls — or if you make a lot of them from your cell phone — these plans may not be cost effective. A bundled plan typically costs about $20 more than a local plan, but the average American consumer makes fewer than two hours of long-distance phone calls a month, according to the Federal Communications Commission. That’s about 17 cents per minute.

Better Deal: Skip the extra fees, and buy your long-distance service from a reseller such as ECG or Pioneer Telephone. These companies buy their long-distance service wholesale from the larger telecommunications firms but offer the same general quality for far lower prices, billing by the minute or fraction thereof. (ECG charges 2.5 cents a minute for interstate phone calls; Pioneer’s price is 2.7 cents.)

Alternately, sign up for a voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) plan from a carrier like Vonage, whose plans start at $15 a month (climbing to $26 after a six-month trial) for both local and long distance. Calls travel over the Internet, though, so you need a stable, active cable or DSL Internet connection for this to work.

Click on the link for the rest of the non-deals, and let us know in the comments about ones you’ve fallen for.

8 Phony ‘Bargains’ and Better Alternatives [Yahoo! Finances]
(Thanks, Jeff!)