1. solhando's Avatar
    My friend and I currently are on an AT&T family plan and pay ~$60 a month. Recently I was introduced to the idea that people get together on the internet to form larger family plans and take advantage of the bigger discounts offered. I did the math, and we would each save $25 off our bill, which is pretty significant over the whole year and could honestly buy me a brand new phone every couple years just with the savings.

    The idea is attractive, so I'm wondering if anyone has experience with this before? If so, how do you find and ultimately choose the people you want to add? I understand there's risk of someone not paying, but honestly the upside is too high not to consider.

    Any advice is appreciated, thanks!
    - Tom
    11-27-2022 09:34 PM
  2. Mooncatt's Avatar
    I would never do this with strangers. I may consider doing it with friends or extended family, but that all depends on how trustworthy they are. At the end of the day, the question you really need to ask is if you are willing to foot the entire bill if the other member(s) try to scam you.
    11-27-2022 10:02 PM
  3. solhando's Avatar
    Good point. If I end up doing it with strangers I figure I have a one month grace period where I foot the month and if they don't pay by the next month, I cancel the plan. The downside is I lose one month ($35) to the scammer and they lose their phone number while the upside is I save $25 a month indefinitely which would be great.

    I imagine finding trustworthy people over the internet is the hard part in all of this. lol
    11-27-2022 10:15 PM
  4. B. Diddy's Avatar
    Welcome to Android Central! I would absolutely avoid this practice. You never know what kind of people you'll deal with, and future headaches with this could potentially escalate into something dangerous.

    It's bad enough with certain family members!
    11-27-2022 11:37 PM
  5. solhando's Avatar
    Thanks for the welcome! I had an account here a few years ago that I used quite a bit, but couldn’t remember the password and no longer use the same email as years ago.

    What do you mean by something dangerous? I know someone not paying is a risk, but for $300 in savings per year I feel like losing a month of payment to someone is a risk I’m willing to take. I buy a new iPhone every 3-5 years, and that alone would more than cover that cost, not to consider my friend would also have the same in savings so it’s basically double the benefit for the same risk, as he’s agreed to cover half if someone “defaults”.

    My Chinese friends all basically do this for all their subscriptions which is where I got the idea, but I don’t read Chinese nor have access to the Chinese forums where these kind of groups are formed so I was hoping to find an English-speaking place where this kind of thing is allowed/organized.
    11-27-2022 11:47 PM
  6. B. Diddy's Avatar
    Things I might be concerned about include:

    - Refusal to pay at some point, leading to late fees (which, if piled up enough, and if the account becomes delinquent, could affect the account holder's credit score)
    - Excessive usage of data, which might cause throttling for everyone on the same plan
    - Possibility of the stranger being able to access certain personal information, if they have access to your carrier account

    Those are just things off the top of my head. Maybe I'm too cautious, but there's always going to be someone out there looking to take advantage of a situation, so it's a roll of the dice.
    11-28-2022 12:09 AM
  7. solhando's Avatar
    All good points. I’ll do my best to try to prevent those issues from happening. Fortunately as account holder for the plan I have I can add or remove accounts at will with no penalty from AT&T, so if they don’t pay I’ll just pay the month they skipped out on, give them a warning and cancel their account before the next month if nothing is done. The data is unlimited so it shouldn’t be a problem for usage.

    I’ll definitely look into the privacy concern though. Appreciate all the suggestions.

    I’ll post an update with my experience if/when I find a place where this kind of thing is done and get things up and running!
    B. Diddy likes this.
    11-28-2022 12:17 AM
  8. Mooncatt's Avatar
    Something else to consider is if the plans require a new phone purchase for the discount (as opposed to bringing your own existing phone). In a case like that, you could be out not only a month of the bill, but also the cost of the new phone.

    There may also be a limit to how many times you can add and remove lines, which you'll need to check with the carrier for specifics on.
    11-28-2022 12:36 AM
  9. tismydroid's Avatar
    Even though data is unlimited, providers can & do throttle data if you use too much of it.

    My biggest concern would be those people that would take the risk to do such a venture would do so because they are careless & nefarious to begin with. To me, it feels like the next best thing or even a better thing to getting a burner phone. Why do people get burner phones... because they're involved in dangerous illegal activities. If the phone they're using for their illegal activities is tied to Mr Joe Solhando Schmo then the authorities will be going after Mr Joe Solhando Schmo and not them.

    To me, it is too many crazy scenarios that could happen and you would be opening yourself right up for it. For a saving of $300 a year. That's ridiculously not worth the risk. My life, my family, my identity, my privacy is worth a hell of a lot more than $300.



    Sent from my SM-S908U using AC Forums mobile app
    J Dubbs, fuzzylumpkin and B. Diddy like this.
    11-28-2022 05:57 AM
  10. J Dubbs's Avatar
    I agree with everyone above, and all the things mentioned and the multitude of things that we don't have the room or time for. There's much safer, less stressful ways to save $300 a year
    11-29-2022 03:29 AM
  11. L0n3N1nja's Avatar
    Good point. If I end up doing it with strangers I figure I have a one month grace period where I foot the month and if they don't pay by the next month, I cancel the plan. The downside is I lose one month ($35) to the scammer and they lose their phone number while the upside is I save $25 a month indefinitely which would be great.

    I imagine finding trustworthy people over the internet is the hard part in all of this. lol
    If the account is in your name you'd also be financially reliable for all phone device payment plans.

    Personally I'd never do it, I've got family on my plan and that annoys me enough when I need to manage the account or collect payments. Especially not for such a small amount of savings.
    B. Diddy, J Dubbs and tismydroid like this.
    11-29-2022 04:26 AM
  12. fuzzylumpkin's Avatar
    Even though data is unlimited, providers can & do throttle data if you use too much of it.

    My biggest concern would be those people that would take the risk to do such a venture would do so because they are careless & nefarious to begin with. To me, it feels like the next best thing or even a better thing to getting a burner phone. Why do people get burner phones... because they're involved in dangerous illegal activities. If the phone they're using for their illegal activities is tied to Mr Joe Solhando Schmo then the authorities will be going after Mr Joe Solhando Schmo and not them.

    To me, it is too many crazy scenarios that could happen and you would be opening yourself right up for it. For a saving of $300 a year. That's ridiculously not worth the risk. My life, my family, my identity, my privacy is worth a hell of a lot more than $300.



    Sent from my SM-S908U using AC Forums mobile app
    Yeah, that was my first thought when I read this... if someone uses one of these phones for super dark illegal stuff, who are the authorities gonna come for? The plan holder.

    Only way I'd do something like this is if someone had a gun to my head...$300 just ain't worth the risk.
    tismydroid, B. Diddy and J Dubbs like this.
    11-29-2022 04:28 AM
  13. swebb's Avatar
    The potential illegal and/or nefarious activities are the least likely to occur. As mentioned, a person wanting to upgrade or change their plan, another wanting out, and a person not wanting to pay will cause the most problems. Certainly not worth the savings.
    B. Diddy and J Dubbs like this.
    11-29-2022 07:43 PM
  14. HoosierDaddy's Avatar
    I wouldn't do it. I have spouse, siblings/spouses, children on my family plan and even they can cause problems.

    Bill is split evenly; everyone pays the same per line. Last year one sister got mad about something and announced she was leaving to get her own plan on the same carrier (at a higher cost to her).

    But she took a "free" phone (24 matching payment credits) when she joined my plan. So, she was upset to hear she would have to actually pay for the phone if she left the plan early. And to make it worse, my plan includes 2 lines-on-us from before her joining and any dropped lines start with the lines-on-us. So basically, the bill would stay the same and every remaining family member would end up paying more. So, I decided to keep the line for future use. Turns out the carrier cannot/won't transfer a phone number OUT unless the line is dropped. She decided to stay to avoid paying for a phone and to keep her number, but I'm sure the whole thing upset her more on top of whatever caused her to want to leave the plan.

    Point is there are things that could happen that nobody anticipated and "strangers" on a plan make it even more likely.
    11-29-2022 07:53 PM

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