So, the other day, I posted on my site about my huge-ass iPhone bill and did my best as a vaguely educated (I went to film school) person to decipher what I was being charged for. You can check out this post here: http://thepete.com/…ned-huzzah but only have a look if you feel like reading my confusion as to what the hell's going on with it. It looks like there's both state AND city sales tax assessed on it and I don't understand how that can be legal.



Regardless, a commenter called "lsoc" explained that: "Dude, this website could not be more perfect for your issues. www.myvalidas.com they analyze all these charges and explain them to you. In a lot of cases the charges are wrong and they will even help you get a credit on your account."



Dude, really? That's funny, because when I signed up for their "free trial", their site told me that I could save NOTHING (see above screencap).



I'm just going to guess that "lsoc" is a comment spammer for the MyValidas.com people. Especially considering the site was of ZERO HELP AT ALL.



There's a "free trial" link on their main page, so I signed up, followed the video on how to download my bill from the AT&T site (said video is out of date, BTW--AT&T has changed the layout of their site) and then uploaded the PDF of my bill to the MyValidas.com site. What I then saw, after their "Validas software" was done "analyzing" my bill was the above image.



0% Yearly Savings

$0.00 My Savings Annually

$0.00 Savings With A New Carrier



About the only helpful thing this "free trial" did was show me how much my iPhone will cost me over twelve months. The catch is, THEY'RE WRONG.



This, my first, bill $167.23 multiplied times 12 months works out to $2006.76, right? However, my first bill was prorated 2 extra weeks (who knows why--AT&T is like God, they work in mysterious ways) and there's a $36 "activation fee" added.



So, that means that my next bill will be at least $56 cheaper than it was the this bill and it'll probably be cheaper if the other taxes and fees that we all get stuck with are percentage-based, which I believe they are.



So, in the end, the MyValidas.com service is useless.



Oh and FYI, when you click on "Start Saving" you end up going to a page where you can actually start paying--the cheapest plan with run you $5 and it covers a one-time audit. The cost goes up for more in-depth plans. Check 'em out:



For $24 (adorned with the "Best Value" ribbon) you get, and I quote (comments in brackets are mine):



* Includes 24 reports ($120) value [<--Illegal use of parentheses!]

* Entry in the "Worst Cell Phone Bill in Americatm" [<--Why would I want that???]

* Monthly Newsletter with $ Saving Tips and industry information you should know. [<--Your service won't save me enough already?]

* Audit every line on your bill and continue auditing every month to ensure the highest savings. [<--Wait, so is the $24 a monthly charge or what?]



For $20 you get (and, again, I quote):



* Includes 12 reports ($60) value [<--again with the illegal use of parentheses! Is English even your native language??]

* Entry in the "Worst Cell Phone Bill in Americatm" [<--Again, WHY WOULD I WANT THIS?]

* Monthly Newsletter with $ Saving Tips and industry information you should know. [<--this is just like the $24 plan. BORING.]

* Audit every line on your bill and continue auditing every month to ensure the highest savings. [<--Same here, for just $4 more, why WOULDN'T I go with the $24 plan? Ohhhh... that's just what you WANT us to think!!]



So basically, you can pay for 12 months of the service for $20 ($1.66666667 per report) and for four bucks more you can get 24 months of the service (for $1 per report). That other crap beyond the reports seems like, well, crap. Who cares about a newsletter? Who's got time for it? And the listing in the "Worst Cell Phone Bill" thing?? Who's idea was this? Why would you be proud of being taken to the cleaners by your cell phone carrier?



But wait--there's still the bargain basement plan:



* One time bill auditing and savings report. Save on average 25% per year with one report.

* Entry in the "Worst Cell Phone Bill in Americatm"



Wow--with one report the average savings is 25%?? I think that must be a LIE or they have precisely ZERO iPhone customers to skew the average.



I can see how over a couple of months, this would be a good idea to do just so their service can get an idea of what your calling habits (and your carrier's charging habits) are like. But one month isn't enough and more than a few months seems like it would be pretty useless, to me.



Considering you can get 12 months for $20 (a $60 value!) and 24 months for $24 (a $120 value!) it would seem like these reports cost very little to actually produce--for one report it's $5 and for 24 it's $1 per report. That's 500% mark-up for the low-end plan. Seems like they could probably charge $6 for three months and both make money and be of, you know, actual service to their customers. Right now it seems like a rip-off--especially since their "free trial" told me exactly nada.



What's amusing to me is how overkill this service even is. When I saw Lsoc's comment, I figured it was just somebody linking to a blog post they read someplace. That's all that is really needed here--or at most a wiki that allows you to search your for your state's legal carrier charging practices (ie, what is legal to charge in your area). I'd do something like this, myself, if I had the time or the technical knowledge, or the willingness to keep the thing updated.



For now, it looks like I'll just have to pay this whole damn bill since it's due today. I just reeeally think that there's something wrong with getting charged both city and state sales tax. o_O



Oh and note to anyone considering a new Internet startup company. Try to come up with a name for your company that is both memorable AND has not had it's domain name bought by someone else, already.



For instance, This website "MyValidas.com" is actually for a service called "Validas." It turns out that the founders of this startup used neither of my suggestions.



The only way "Validas" is memorable to me is if I imagine an extra "s" on the end of it making the company name "ValidAss". I just have to remember to remove that extra "s" when going to their website. EXCEPT, they're not at "Validas.com" they're at "MYvalidas.com". How lame since I've never imagined myself having a Validas (maybe a valid ass, but...) so how can I just roll into the concept of wanting to discover "MyValidas"??? It's just bad marketing, in my mind.



OK, enough complaining out of me. Just don't bother with this service, dear readers. It makes more sense to do the research yourself and based on their free trial, I have no proof that your service works at all.
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