Get a ring tone without getting ripped off

by Nicole Saunders

Ring tones, 30-second music clips you download to replace your cell's ring, turn a plain old phone into your personal deejay. But before you make "My Boo" your signature sound, here are some tips for avoiding service snags:

* IF YOU WANTED USHER'S "Yeah!" but ended up with garbled noise, you may be downloading ring tones your phone can't support. Instead of buying your tones from a random Web site, try buying them from your carrier or handset manufacturer's site--it should have the right fit for your cell.

* A RING TONE COSTS between 99 cents and $3, but there's a catch: Your carrier determines how you're billed. Some offer a onetime charge, but others bill you every month, says Beverly Macy, CEO of Third Channel Marketing. Bottom line? Read your contract carefully.