Some people lose things more than other people do. I lose my keys at least twice a day. I have actually maxed out my cell phone insurance policy -- they give you three replacements per year.

Not to overstate the obvious, but there is a procedure one must go through when a cell phone is lost.

You would not believe how many people think they are not held responsible for fraudulent calls made after they lose their phone. If you read the fine print of your contract, you will find that you are, in fact, responsible for calls made from your phone, unless they are made after you have called the service provider to report the phone missing.

You go out to the club, to work, to the grocery store or any other place you might go during a typical day. You realize at some point during the day that you don’t have your phone with you. You think it might be in the car. You check the car -- it’s not there. Maybe it’s in your desk drawer? You rush back up to the office to find no trace of your cell phone. You mentally retrace your steps. You had your phone on your way to work…you were using it in line at Starbucks…you think you had it after Starbucks, but you’re not sure. You think to yourself that you will stop by Starbucks on the way home and see if they have your phone.

Now here’s the big question:

When should you call your phone company and report your phone missing?

You should call them the minute you suspect your phone might be lost.

It may be inconvenient to miss a voicemail or two, but it’s even more inconvenient to have a $1,500 phone bill that you are now responsible for.

Here is the procedure:


  1. 1

    You think you may have lost your Cingular cell phone.

  2. 2

    You call them the moment you notice it’s missing.

  3. 3

    They temporarily suspend your service, and advise you that you have 30 days to find your phone, or get a new one before they cancel your service.


All of this is a pain in the neck, but it’s a lot better than the frustration of having to pay a huge phone bill Remember, the service provider will suspend your service at no charge when you lose your phone.

If you find it again, it only takes a minute or two for them to reinstate your service.

Also remember that while your service is in suspension, your contract is also suspended, meaning that if you suspend for thirty days, that time will be added to the end of your contract. It’s also important to note that you are not paying your monthly service charge while your service is in suspension. They will pro-rate your bill, and airtime.

If you suspend your service, you don’t have the same amount of minutes you would during a normal month.

Save yourself a hassle! Suspend your service when you lose your phone!

Tips & Warnings

  • If they cancel your service, and you are still under contract, they will still charge you an early termination fee, which is usually about $200.
  • They will offer you a new phone at a huge discount. Most phone companies have refurbished phones available at under $50 for people who have lost their phones. (If you take advantage of this offer, you will probably have to agree to a new one or two year contract.)
  • If you have insurance on your phone, this is a good time to use it. (Most insurance companies will still charge you a deductible, which is usually about $40.)