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Time for this wheel to start squeaking louder?

I've complained about my cell phone provider a few times. When I moved from Manchester to Lebanon, my reception was horrible in my new apartment. It was so bad that I could only barely get a signal when I curled up against my bed's headboard -- and if I moved more than a few inches from there, I'd lose it.

They eventually fixed it, but I was less than thrilled with their solution. They did it by changing my phone number -- a fix that they neglected to tell me about, and let me find out a week later when I went to call the electric company to report an outage. So I spent 45 minutes finding out my number had changed, learning my new number, and reprogramming it with the new number before I could report my power was out.

Also, when I signed up, I specifically said I was NOT interested in any marketing calls. For over a year, they respected that. Then they started calling me out of the blue. I went off on the marketer, then on the customer service rep who apologized profusely, went back in and made certain I had my marketing preferences set right, and promised it wouldn't happen again.

Then, on Saturday, I got another call.

This one triggered a 45-minute phone session, accompanied with more profuse apologies and promises that it would never ever ever happen again. I challenged the representative to put some substance behind that promise: if I got another marketing call from them, they would allow me to cancel my service that instant and waive the early termination fee. (Fool that I am, I'm locked in for another 15 months or so.) (And yes, Paul, I remember what you did for Spoons, and if I get really disgusted, I might ask you to do the same for me.)

You'd think I was offering garlic-flavored holy wafers to a vampire, served on a crucifix at high noon. The idea of putting their money where their mouth is, of actually putting substance behind their promises, was absolutely inconceivable to them. Instead, I should just trust them that this time they really honestly meant it, promise, and those two prior mess-ups should just be forgotten.

Well, it turns out that I should not give up on them yet. It turns out that one cell phone provider has decided that if you bitch at them enough, they'll cut you loose from your contract.

And, coincidentally, it's MY provider!

I think I'll keep that story in mind the next time I get fed up with them. I think I can easily make as many complaints as these other people did.


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Comments (14)

Are cell phones supposed to... (Below threshold)
Pretzel_logic:

Are cell phones supposed to work in your bed?

Anti-trust is dead in this ... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Anti-trust is dead in this country and competition suffers because of it. There's basically 2 worthwile providers in my area now if you exclude overpriced Nextel (and I hate PTT anyway).

I've been lucky *crossing f... (Below threshold)

I've been lucky *crossing fingers* so far with Cingular (which is now AT&T). I've had excellent service, fair billing and no marketing calls for about ten years. The only thing that worries me now is that I've never had a good experience dealing with any of AT&T's other services in the past. And now that they ARE Cingular - I'm sitting on the edge of my seat.

Sprint is hands down the WO... (Below threshold)
D-Hoggs:

Sprint is hands down the WORST customer service I have ever delt with, in any industry, any capacity. I switched to Verizon a few years ago and am damned glad I did, much better service and FAR superior customer service, and never had a single marketing call, and never had to request such either.

Wow, you didn't have half t... (Below threshold)
steak111111:

Wow, you didn't have half the problems i had Jay.

I've had Verizon for 4 year... (Below threshold)
al:

I've had Verizon for 4 years now. Before that T-Mobile for 4. Service has been excellent and coverage has been great. We used to have spotty coverage in the house but when I replaced the old LG phones with Razrs the problem went away.

As for customer service - when I've called them they were polite and the problem was resolved within minutes. The only marketing calls I ever got was when my initial 2 years was up I get some calls from the dealer I signed up with reminding me that my contract was up and if I renewed I could replace my phones for for next to nothing.

Keep complaining so they make you switch :-)

"When I moved from Manchest... (Below threshold)
markm:

"When I moved from Manchester to Lebanon, my reception was horrible in my new apartment"

I had a friend that moved from Detroit to Syria and had the same problem......

D-Hoggs: I too had a horri... (Below threshold)

D-Hoggs: I too had a horrible experience with Sprint when my husband decided he wanted a certain new phone and only they carried it. As it turned out, we got scammed by their sales person who charged our American Express $500 and then billed us for another $300, sent us three crappy phones we never ordered, a service plan we never agreed to and then Sprint tried to make us pay up. It took us three months and a threat from a lawyer to make them take their phones back and credit our charge card. To top it all off, they continued to send us billing every month for almost a year thereafter with a zero balance to pay as if we were still their customer. We finally got them to erase us from their database after numerous calls and demands to speak to someone who could actually do something about it.

I like the convenience of c... (Below threshold)
Matt:

I like the convenience of cell phones (within limits) but hate and despise cell phone companies their lousy customer service. Several years ago I switched to non-subscription pay as you go service. It costs me less per year and I can positively select which services I use. Best is that I have NO CONTRACT.

Pay as you go isn't for everybody. It suits my needs because I don't live with a cell phone stuck to my ear. I don't have delusions of being so important that I have to talk to somebody 24-7. Right now for my family we are working 3 cell phones for an average of about 30 dollars a month.

Verison is the best. I've ... (Below threshold)
taz:

Verison is the best. I've never had a marketing call...ever.
If my coverage is spotty, I dial a number and it updates my phone for the coverage I'm in and the problem goes away.

The only coverage problem that won't go away is if I'm in an older building or a 'lead lined room or concrete basement'...nobody's phone works in those places.

According to 'The Consumeri... (Below threshold)
Tim:

According to 'The Consumerist' web site, the people terminated for too many customer services calls were in fact scamming the provider by calling with spurious complaints 2 or more times A DAY, and requesting credits. Apparently the scheme was providing these users with basically unlimited free cell service, and hopes of a settlement check when ultimately terminated for cause.

That's funny, I stick with ... (Below threshold)
Veeshir:

That's funny, I stick with Sprint because their customer service has been the best. They've messed up a few times and I have never had work my way up the line to get to somebody who would fix the problem they started.
For instance, when I joined I got a phone with a rebate for about half the purchase price. The rebate company started their games. I would check the page and it would say my rebate was processing, then it would say, "Not valid" or something. So I would call the rebate company and they would fix their "mistake". It happened at least twice (maybe three times) and I finally called Sprint. They said that it wasn't their problem, talk to the rebate company. I said that I made a deal with Sprint, not the rebate company so either I was going to have my rebate on the way before the end of this conversation or, when my plan ran out in 4 months (yes, 8 months, no rebate) I would leave Sprint forever. The guy put me on hold and came back on a minute or two later and said that my account had been credited the rebate amount. I asked what I should do if/when the rebate company ever sent me the rebate. He told me to keep it, so I paid like $10 for my phone. They made mistakes on my bill maybe twice over the 4-5 years I've had them and they fixed it with one call.
I will never deal with AT&T because they start with the premise that I'm wrong and work from there. Ditto other phone companies. I'm pretty much down to Sprint or two cans and a string.

I've had Sprint for ages. I... (Below threshold)
Joe:

I've had Sprint for ages. I have had 5 phones, three of them top of the line PDA phones. I have been a customer for 8 years? 9? $100+ a month bill. Its an eternity in the mobile market. BUT I have seen a deterioration in their customer service since the Nextel merger. When I bought my last phone a couple of months ago, the local Sprint store failed to move all my plan options to the new phone and contract. You think that would not be so hard to do but apparently their NEW system doesn't merge well with their OLD system. So when I did the *2 talk to get to CS, I spent 2 hours, 90 minutes of that on HOLD before the SECOND CS rep I talked to that call said I had to call ANOTHER number because my account had already been moved to the new system. Called the next day to the 2nd number. Another 45 minutes on hold, another poor CS rep who couldn't fix the problem. Had to go to an internal support person to fix the issue.

Bottom line is the issue was resolved, but not until three hours and 4 CS reps looked at the problem. I told the poor CS rep that if she couldn't get the issue fixed, I was in my 30 day period and I'd take my phone back to the store .... and port my number to Verizon. (although I have my own issues with Verizon)

AT&T? Forget it! I left them for Sprint over a billing issue. It made me so mad I vowed I'd never go back to them.

I believe the best days for Customer Service (any carrier) is in the past. The pressure on the bottom line has led them to cut so many corners in hiring, retention, and training the consumer is left with HOPING that maybe the robot on the phone has a solution in the knowledge base that matches the issue .... otherwise you are S.O.L.

I've had a cell phone/car p... (Below threshold)
Pretzel_logic:

I've had a cell phone/car phone for over 20 years. I think they have over marketed the technology and peoples expectations are over the top. Plus the addiction I see to these things cant help. It's great technology, but like anything, has its limitations. I'm not sure we can expect them to work crystal clear in an apartment building for instance.




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