We've all been told there is no such thing as a free lunch; yet it’s hard to resist the siren’s call of “FREE.” That’s one of the reasons why so many people have free e-mail accounts through Hotmail, MSN, and Gmail.And while you might not be paying out of pocket for these services, there IS a cost. Here’s the price you pay when you use a free e-mail account:An Extra Helping Of Spam: And loads of it. Are these free services selling your e-mail account? Do spammers have ways of gleaning your e-mail account? No one seems to know for sure (or at least they’re not talking). But the bottom line is you’ll end up with a lot more ads for Viagra than you bargained for.Your E-mails Aren't Guaranteed To Be Delivered: The majority of spam messages come from free e-mail accounts. Even though you aren't sending them, spam filters look at the server sending the message and, if it’s a known source for spam, will block the e-mail from going through. That means your emails might be getting blocked before they even reach the sender.Customer Service? Non-existent! See you DO get what you pay for! If you have a problem, you’re on your own to figure it out.Difficulty In Moving, Forwarding, or Downloading: Free e-mail services require that you read your e-mail through their web interface. If you want to move, forward or download your e-mail, contacts or other information, the process is cumbersome and sometimes impossible.No Archiving: E-mail archiving, or storing old emails in a searchable, retrievable format has become very important (even a legal requirement) in some industries like medical and financial. Email is considered a form of communication and if you use it to support customers, order products, or to negotiate any type of deals, you want to keep a record.So while these free services are okay for chatting with friends, they are NOT recommended for business purposes or for anything important.Here’s a question to ask yourself: If your e-mail account was erased tomorrow and all your messages, contact information, and history were gone, would it be a slight inconvenience or a catastrophe? If it’s the latter, then you need to get a “real” e-mail account.And, while you’re at it, you should also get an account that reflects your own URL, like firstname.lastname@example.org. The only reason for keeping a free e-mail account is to provide certain web sites with an e-mail address when you don’t care about getting communications from them, or that may spam you later on - that way, you can simply get rid of it and get a new one when you start to get too much spam.