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5 Bad Deals For Consumers To Avoid

Cable bundling: So, Comcast (CMCSA - Get Report), a subscriber can get sweet Internet and cable hookups for $99 to $179 a month for 12 months and all he or she has to do is get a landline phone and caller ID service they neither want nor need? Awesome!

Even as the Centers For Disease Control notes that 20.2% of homes only use mobile phones for calls, up from 14.5% in 2008, while exclusive landline users dropped from 34.4% of the population in 2005 to just 17.4%, cable and Internet providers seem bent on fixing them up with a phone just like grandma had. This is put forth as sound business logic not only while the country quickly cuts Ma Bell's cord, but also as it holds on to wireless phones longer -- with J.D. Power noting that wireless customers hold onto their phones for an average of 20.5 months, or 17% longer than they did a year ago. As smartphones take hold, they're also willing to part with more money for the privilege, with the average mobile bill jumping from $69 three years ago to $78 today behind expanding data plans.

Some carriers are starting to get it, as Verizon now offers a $70 "double play" version of its $90 "Triple Play" that nixes the landline and saves the consumer $240 a year. Granted, Verizon (VZ - Get Report) hasn't figured out how to incorporate the voice, text and data customers from its mobile plan into an all-in-one deal for multichannel and Internet, but it's taken an important baby step toward value.
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