ED Magedson – Founder
Alltel Cell PhoneFarmington, New Mexico United States of America
In December of 2008, I switched one phone line out of our 12 line plan to a "smart" phone and was mistakenly told my account plan rate would increase by $20 (they now tell me it should have been $40). My rate was $451 for the 12 lines, so I was expecting a new rate of $471 or so. My next bill increased by $140, so I called customer service and I was told my account would be corrected and I would receive a credit on my next statement. It didn't happen.
To make a long story short, I overpaid my bill in good faith by over $1,000 in the months between January and July of 2009 with only half hearted attempts by Alltel to make this right. I was even told by Alltel reps that they could not give me credit beyond a three month period. During this time, they did advise me to switch my account from a retail account to a business acount so that I could save money overall on my plan and I was put in touch with the local business office. Matters only got worse and my monthly service rate went from $451 to $724.
I quit paying the disputed portion of my cell phone bill in July of 2009, filed a complaint with the NM Public Regulation Commission and the Federal Trade Commission and sent a letter to their customer relations department.
At this point I was contacted by a customer service representative and she gave me a monthly service rate quote of $432 per month. I told them the rate was agreeable, after I questioned her on if the rate included the same options we had previously had, with the one change of a regular phone to a smart phone and she assured me it did. Needless to say, when I received the next bill my rate was actually $519 and the quote she had given me in writing did not inlcude all the options she was told to price.
Finally in December of 2009, the local business office gave me a final rate quote of $496, but I had to disconnect two phone lines and some insurance coverage to get my rate back down to something close to what we had been paying for the last several years. They told me this was the best they could do and that they could switch my account back to a retail plan, but since my rates were "artificially low", I would not have any luck getting a better deal.
After 9 rate changes in a 12 month period, twelve months of pure aggravation and lost time on my part dealing with their incompetent employees and inaccurate rate quotes, I informed them I was changing cell phone providers and asked them to waive my early termination fees. They informed me they provided the best deal possible and my contract required me to pay the early termination fees. Apparently Alltel has no contractual obligations at all.
I ended up filing complaints with the Federal Communications Commission and the BBB, but so far I've had no luck with any of the above agencies. My advice to other consumers is to not pay any of the disputed portion of your bill and send them a letter each month stating why. In Alltel's response to the FCC, they acted like they had done me a huge favor by giving me a "credit", which was really just a refund of my own money.
File complaints with the FCC, the FTC, your state's public regulation commission and the BBB. Cell phone companies need to be held accountable to the same business standards the rest of us have, and I believe the only thing that will change their behavior is a huge amount of pressure put on the FCC to do its job and monitor the outrageous charges and lack of service cell phone providers are getting away with.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 05/26/2010 11:10 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Alltel-Cell-Phone/Farmington-New-Mexico-87401/Alltel-Cell-Phone-Never-made-an-accurate-rate-quote-increased-my-plan-by-over-20-with-o-607505. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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