Changing cell phone plans? Beware of pro-rating!

Verizon sign
Verizon sign

Last month I shared my quest to save money by reviewing our cell phone bill. I found that we could get unlimited texting on all of our lines without any increase in our monthly rate. This was a huge deal since my sister was as familiar with text overages as the Cookie Monster is with cookies! Due to the amount of texts already sent I decided to do something I should have avoided, I switched plans mid billing cycle. Most places this wouldn't be a huge deal, but Verizon's billing system is arranged to maximize confusion for users and profit for the company.

Since the switch occurred mid month Verizon pro-rated the text message plan on my sister's phone. Normally this means I get some money refunded and it only appears that I was ripped off on the bill. This time however was different. Even though the plan she was on was for 1,500 text messages and we switched to an unlimited plan Verizon decided that the allotment of messages at the time we switched was 913, which just happened to be 403 below what she had already sent resulting in a huge overage.