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Cell Phone Companies.. GRRR!

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I won't name names due to the liability to the site, but I'm wondering if anyone else has had problems like this, and what we can do about it.

A couple months ago Earl called his cell phone company for some problem or another. They told him that the network his phone/plan is on will be taken down by the end of the year, so he needed to sign up for a different plan and get a new phone. They said that even though the phone cost over $150, there would be $100 in rebates sent to him and we would have the full year of the contract to pay it off. Time went by and no rebates, so he called them. They said that it was the phone manufacturer that sends out rebates, so it may take them a while. They told him to call back if he hadn't recieved them by December 1.

December 1 rolls around, still no rebates. He tried to make a call today and the phone has been SHUT OFF! He calls them to find out why since we made a payment for the monthly service, plus a little to pay off the phone (I'm guessing since we also didn't recieve a statement last month ). They told him that it was turned off because we haven't paid for the phone. Oh yeah, and there is no such deal where you get a year to pay it off, and there are no rebates. So somehow I'm supposed to pull $167, plus a $25 reconnect fee out of my rear end, and since he's on a contract they WILL keep charging $40 a month whether or not the service is on.

How can we fight this? They are basically saying that the guy who sold Earl the phone and plan lied to him and it's not their problem. He's going to call back this afternoon and try to talk to someone who isn't so standoffish, and hopefully get this resolved. I just see that this is going to be a big fight.
post #2 of 20
Bet I know which company this is! LOL They charged me a years worth of phone calls on a phone that was turned back in to them. My friend is going through headaches with them now as well. They have turned off her phone twice charging her $105.00 reconnect fee each time!
post #3 of 20
I always ask to speak to the Supervisor if I see I'm getting no where. Speak to someone as 'high-up' as you can. You obviously can't get through to the call-center yahoo's. I strongly recommend, going to the top, and don't give up! Good luck! Don't let them get away with this!
post #4 of 20
I would at this point write a letter directly to their Client Services department. You have to start documenting your actions in case you need this as evidence later on.
post #5 of 20
I agree with Russian Blue!
post #6 of 20
having worked in a call center for many years, I can say that most of the time, a "supervisor" is any other agent nearby, not someone with authority. I've seen it both ways, but chances are even it's not really a supervisor.
post #7 of 20
Oh, that's a shame. It's worked for me in the past.
post #8 of 20
I recently bought a new cellphone and registered it with the telephone company, the good thing about the type of phone I got was that I don't have to register a name to it, so anyone could be using my phone. I got a text message of them a few days back asking for my real name and address and they would give me an extra £2.50 on my credit. Oooo aint they nice?

Needless to say they never got any details off me Last thing I want is my name in a mobile phone book and people ringing me at all hours.
post #9 of 20
I am sorry but I don't have any advice on what to do in your situation. When I bought a new plan, I also purchased a new phone. I got a rebate on the phone. I ended up only paying 1 cent for the phone, but I had to wait about 5 months to get the rebate check. I had
to pay in full for the phone before my account could be activated.
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
We had been with the company for at least 2 years before this happened, and they do have better offers for returning customers than new ones. Basically, they want you to sign another contract so they give you better deals so you can't switch on them. That's why he signed up again, and believed the guy about the rebates and payment plan. If they had told him that we had 30 days to pay for the phone, and then the rebates may or may not come by mail he wouldn't have done it. We don't have an extra $170 laying around, no matter if we will get reimbursed for it or not. (Well, we actually just did, but that was the sum total of our Christmas shopping money. It's gone now.) If that was the deal, then they should have told him that. That is not what was sold to us. I HATE liars anyway, and for a company to blatantly lie to their customers to get them to sign up for something (and spend money) is BS.
post #11 of 20
It seems like most cell phone companies these days have something or another up their sleeves. Personally (and I think others will agree with me) I don't think that anyone working in the call centers give a crap about what your problem is. All they care about is getting paid and thats about it. I've had many problems with my company. Not to mention any names *cough* Sprint *cough* And the thing I hate the most is when their network is down and theres nothing they can do about it and I'm stuck with a dumb phone and tons of questions and there is no one to help me.

There has to be some kind of way that you can get around this Heidi! Good luck! If I were you, I just wouldn't pay the bill, but then again, you might want to if you don't want it to go on your credit. And as far as them shutting the phone off, I don't think they will turn it back on w/o the payments. Cell phone companies are SO STUPID!!!

By the way, has anyone heard of the new cell phone company US Cellular? From what I hear, they are a pretty good company and they are new.
post #12 of 20
This is a little late for for "valanhb" but anytime a service provider changes the rules on you GET IT IN WRITING. Any promisses made, GET IT IN WRITING.

Now for "valanhb" pull out every peice of paper this company has ever sent you, especially the original contract, and look for a clause in the contract about service changes, official notice... And with this in hand call them and ask for a senior supervisor or manager. Write down thier name (along with EVERY person you talk to) and inform them your next call will be the the postal inspector (fraud by mail if they billed you) AND the FCC (Communication Fraud) and will be seeking damages in the amount of the missing refund, service contract increases, plus your time. Then follow through on the threat. Also, tell them you will tell every one you know of the situation so they can't defraud your friends. (And you have ALOT of friends, coast to coast)

I for one would like the name of this provider, because if I'm using them, I will change provider if they even attempt a service change like you are going through.

To ALL: short term or no time minimum contracts are out there, those are the safest when it comes to Cell providers.

Iceman of DragonPassCats
post #13 of 20
In Australia we have a telecommunications ombudsman, with whom you can lodge a complaint about any aspect of the telecommunications industry.

We had cause to use this avenue (in a different situation - we cancelled a contract when it expired and they kept withdrawing money from our account, for months) and eventually it worked, as it took them so much time to follow up the paper work required for the ombudsman investigation, that they just finalised the issue by reimbursing us. (Also, my husband wrote some kick-@$$ letters of complaint as well!).

I don't know if the US has anything similar, I think it would be far more difficult to monitor this kind of thing with such a large population?

I hate when telecommunications companies do this - all the best with it, let us know how it turns out.

post #14 of 20
While we are on the subject, we signed up with Voicestream back in July. We got 2 Samsung cell phones for free. We have a contract for a year and after that we can with them or some other carrier. We were paying $80.00 a month, til we decided to see if they had a cheaper plan, which they did. Instead of $80, we pay $40. I had to cancel the original account which had both #'s on one bill, and split them into their own accounts. Anyways, they really messed up my account. I couldnt pay the $80 in full, so the day I switched, I paid half. I called the week after to pay the remaining balance. Instead of it going towards the cancelled account, it went towards the new ones! I kept getting automated phone calls saying to call the customer service saying their was going to be a change of service. Talk about a mess.
post #15 of 20
I've had great luck with Voicestream, I've been with them for 3 years now and no problems. Also, chances are it wasn't the "company" lieing to you, it was the salesman. I worked for Qwest, a telephone company out here, doing sales, and I couldn't believe what their quotas were! And what some people did to meet them! I eventually got fired for not meeting my quotas, because they were so outrageous, and I won't lie to people.
post #16 of 20
I've been with Verizon since they were PrimeCo. and have had zero of any kind of the problems that you describe! I guess there must be a lot of fly-by-night companies out there.
post #17 of 20
I don't have any advice for you Heidi, but I am sorry to hear you have been taken advantage of like this!!! I would be mad, too!!!!! I have a pretty good cell phone plan, but I hate being locked into it for 2 years....I have only had this plan for 5 months. The good thing is, in another month, I can at least drop down to the cheaper plan. We really only use it for emergencies.
post #18 of 20
Thread Starter 
Nothing is resolved at this point. Hubby tried calling the company yesterday afternoon, it said the wait time was 20 minutes, but he gave up after being on hold for well over an hour. I have a feeling they did this to a lot of people, which is why their phone system was jammed yesterday. Usually it doesn't even take 5 minutes to get connected to someone. He's trying again first thing this morning and see if he can get a resolution to this.

We didn't get any documentation about this. Everything was done over the phone, par for the course anymore. Thing is, he called two or three times in the interrum about the rebates and every time it was confirmed that they were supposed to be coming to us. Now all of a sudden they never existed. Also, we have always gotten notices that "if you don't pay such and such your service will be shut off." (We've gotten behind before and I was making a concerted effort not to have that happen this time.) No notices this time, no communication of any kind, not even an invoice this last month.

I don't want to give out the name of the company on the public boards since I'm saying "derogatory" things about them. Webmasters have been sued for allowing posts of complaints against companies with their name in it. As long as you are saying nice or at least not bad things, you can post the name of the company. If anyone really wants to know, I can PM you with it, but I'm not going to put the liability on Anne by posting it in the public forum.
post #19 of 20
I used to be a customer service manager for a mobile phone company here in the UK, for six long long years. I was the person you got if you asked to speak to a manager. I was sworn at, shouted at, threatened, abused, my parents' marriage questioned etc.

My advice with any telephony service is to insist you get everything in writing. Then you have some come-back. The poor phone-monkeys don't deliberately not do the thing you request - they just aren't given the time to do it, they are forced to go for the largest amount of calls in the least time, or else.

If you need to complain, just keep on insisting you want to speak to a manager, calm sarcasm tends to get a better response than shouting and swearing. Again insist you get everything in writing.

In the UK, there is a new law that states that any credit agreement (like a mobile phone contract) undertaken over the phone requires that you receive written confirmation of the agreement within 7 days - plus you have 14 days "cooling off" time. My ex-company was plagued by rogue salespeople who out and out lied to people, and we were left to grovel, apologise, give "compensation" etc.

If you still get no resolution, then write to the MD - and keep on writing to her/him until someone phones you back.

Good luck
post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 
I try really hard not to be rude or too angry with the person answering the customer service calls. It generally isn't their fault, whatever the problem is. The only time I can remember yelling at someone on the other end of the line was a solicitor for a credit card company that called 4-5 times a day, even after we had asked numerous times that they not call again. If we didn't answer the phone because we knew it was them by the caller id, they would call back every ten minutes until someone answered. By that time I was so fed up with being bothered by them I got the girl's name and the name of the company, then went off on her and said they would be sued if they ever called again. I know it was someone I had talked to before and told them not to call, so I didn't feel that bad about yelling at her.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. He tried to call again this morning with the same results. HUGE wait time. I really think they did this to everyone who signed up for the plan. I'll keep y'all informed with any outcomes. Thanks for all the advice, and next time I will be sure to get everything in writing. Getting hubby to do that isn't likely though.
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