If you are frustrated with your cell carrier, a promotion to switch to another provider may look tempting. But a caution, it is not always as easy as it seems.

Patricia Miller is a watercolor painter who loves impressionist art, but not fuzzy phone calls. So hoping for a better signal and lower rate, she decided to switch carriers.

“My daughter’s phone ported over easy enough,” Miller said.

But when she brought her four-month-old iPhone to a new carrier, the simpler porting over became a nightmare.

“I ended up being there for 8 hours that day, with them trying to figure it out and they couldn’t,” Miller said.

A lot of people are switching providers these days because they are having problems with dropped calls, garbled voices, or just high monthly bills. Unfortunately switching providers with an existing phone is not quite as easy as it seems.

The consumer advocacy group ‘The Elliott Report’ said do not expect your old carrier to help. It says that “phone companies do not want to make it easy to move to a competitor. Giving customers the porting ability to reassign their number to another carrier is not good for business.”

The Elliot Report suggests:

  • Make sure your phone is unlocked
  • Check your current contract for terminating fees
  • Do not terminate your old service until your new service works

So remember that the switch may not be as quick and seamless as you expect. So have a contingency plan, at least for a few days, so you don’t waste your money.