We have had a contract service for 4 phones with USC for 4 years. We recently ended up getting our svc shut off after a bout with unemployment. (Note that we knew we were running behind, but had no warning from USC, and my emails asking them to work with us were met with a form of "bummer".) When I emailed to find out what it would cost to get them turned back on, I was given a quote of $300! OMG. If I had that much, I would not have been late with the bill.
Anyway, we needed some cellular service, and could not pay that price, so ended up going with Cricket prepay phones (another disaster!). We ended up spending $270 between three people to get the phones and one month of service. Of course, I realize after the fact that if we waited another month, we could have reinstated USC for that cost.
Anyway, Cricket is horrid in IL - rarely does the phone ring, etc etc, but that is another post. We went in to a local USC office to see exactly how much it would take to get our phones back on. Our outstanding amt was only $150!! BUT... they are charging us a $25 reconnect fee PER PHONE and a $10 REINSTATEMENT fee PER PHONE to get them back on.
You would think after four years of service, they could waive a fee or would have worked with us in general on the bill to begin with. Not so - they just don't give a rip. We were not too torn up at first about losing the phones, since USC is one of the very few carriers where you cannot download a simple ringtone (you can, but only if you pay $10/month per phone to get their special access, then pay an ADDITIONAL amount per ringtone!!).
BUT - this is where it gets even more fun - they are one of the few carriers that actually have a signal in Illinois. This state is so messed up on phones and telecommunications! There are palms greasing palms somewhere, because the restrictions are amazing.
So, I STILL do not know where the phone rep got the amount they were giving me on our account balance - it was much more than we really owed. We ended up wasting quite a bit of money trying another service that never worked, that we could have put towards the bill in the first place. (We had only needed to wait 3 more weeks for a first paycheck on the new job when they had shut us off for missing a payment.) It took going in to a physical location to get things straightened out
So, if you are stuck with US Cellular as your phone company, do NOT believe the phone rep - go in to a place in person. The service will be much more effective, and there won't be mystery amounts added to the bill.