• Report: #429361

Complaint Review: Alltel Communication

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  • Submitted: Sat, February 28, 2009
  • Updated: Tue, October 19, 2010

  • Reported By:Tucson Arizona
Alltel Communication
One Allied Drive Bf505-NC Little Rock, Arkansas U.S.A.

Alltel Communication ,Alltel Divested Account Without Notice, Service Access Changed, 80 Mile Drive to Store, Alltel Now Refuses to Cancel Contract Little Rock Arkansas

*Consumer Comment: Read your contract

*Consumer Comment: That is just the Area Code

*Author of original report: Phone Numbers Were Updated

*Consumer Comment: Suggestion ... When you move, change your number ...

*Author of original report: Response to Bryan - h*o Hum

*Consumer Comment: h*o Hum............

*Author of original report: Alltel Response to BBB Complaint - Goodwill Gesture - and My Response to Them

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I am writing to inform your readers of any situation involving ALLTEL Communications.

As you know Alltel has recently merged with Verizon.

I live in Tucson having relocated here in December. As a part of moving I updated all of my account information to my new address. I have been a customer of Alltel for close to 10 years and have never had a problem with their service until this weekend.

On Saturday, February 14 I went to my local ALLTEL communications store to upgrade two of my phone lines. The service representative could not find any of my account information in their database. After a few moments of searching he found that my number has been switched to another service company operating under the name of Alltel.

As I have found when ALLTEL communications merged with Verizon some numbers in the Tucson area were divested to a third-party provider operating under the name of Alltel. Other numbers in the Tucson area remained at the Verizon owned ALLTEL communications. For those of us whose accounts were divested to the third-party carrier this means that we are not able to access retail services in any of the ALLTEL communications stores in the Tucson area. The nearest ALLTEL communications store that we can access is in Casa Grande. Alltel could reallocate our accounts to the current market area (396) but that would mean switching our accounts to Verizon.

I contacted ALLTEL customer service and was told that they could not switch my market area so that I could access a retail store in the Tucson metropolitan area. I escalated my concern to a supervisor level and spoke to Ian. I explained my situation and stated that the change promulgated by the merger constituted a material adverse effect to my service in that I live in a major metropolitan area, yet I would have to travel 80 miles to access a retail store owned by this company. I explain that this was a material adverse change in the service offered by their company and requested that the cancellation of my contracted phone lines without an early termination fee. ALLTEL customer service explained that they did not consider this to be a change in their service since I could access their customer service via phone and online. After a long conversation ALLTEL customer service refused to cancel my remaining contracts even though I could no longer access any retail services in a population center of more than 1 million people.

I further spoke to Tiffany in the ALLTEL retention department. She too refused to honor my request. When I commented to her that I would contact local consumer groups Tiffany stated "we do not take idle threats seriously."

In that untold numbers of Alltel communications subscribers in the Tucson area have unknowingly seen their service areas switch to a local provider in Casa Grande I believe this constitutes an adverse impact to the level of service offered by ALLTEL communication. I believe that part of the service offered by this firm is the ability to access services at a local retail level. As I pointed out to both representatives if I lived in a rural distant area than their rationale of only using telephone and Internet services would be more valid. In fact ALLTEL did not adequately notify Tucson subscribers that their services would no longer be available at retail level. I also have to express concern at how this type of change will impact subscribers who are elderly or infirm, and are not able or comfortable with using the phone or the Internet to conduct their business. I believe that ALLTEL should offer their subscribers the ability to cancel their contracts without early termination fee.

I am also very concerned at the arrogance displayed by Alltel customer service in stating that contacting any consumer group would be considered a "idle threat."

On behalf of subscribers to Alltel who have seen their service switched, or may not even know that the locus of their service has been switched, please look into this matter and see if you can motivate Alltel to offer subscribers a fair opportunity to cancel their service without excessive penalty.

Frank
Tucson, Arizona
U.S.A.

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/28/2009 08:38 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Alltel-Communication/Little-Rock-Arkansas-72202/Alltel-Communication-Alltel-Divested-Account-Without-Notice-Service-Access-Changed-80-M-429361. 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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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
0Author 7Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Comment

Read your contract

AUTHOR: discovermike - (United States of America)

In your contract with Alltel, it states that Alltel may assign your account and contract in any way seen fit by the Company.  This means that you can't get out of it for being mad.  Next time request to read a copy of the full written contract if you cant handle just signing on the dotted line.
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#2 Consumer Comment

That is just the Area Code

AUTHOR: Blake - (U.S.A.)

520 is just the area code .. you also have to look at the next 3 numbers .. the next three numbers represents the City part of where it is based out of too.
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#3 Author of original report

Phone Numbers Were Updated

AUTHOR: Frank - (U.S.A.)

After relocating to Tucson all of our phone numbers were updated to the 520 area code. The changes were made at the same Alltel store where two months later I could no longer do business. Thanks for the comments Blake, but yes the phone numbers were updated to reflect the local area code.
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#4 Consumer Comment

Suggestion ... When you move, change your number ...

AUTHOR: Blake - (U.S.A.)

I have a great suggestion to you sir for being a cell phone user is ...

When you move, change your cell phone number as well.

If you would have changed your phone to an area code and prefix (NPA-Nxx) that was actually based in Tuscan, you would not have experienced the delema that you are in.

The problem this day and age, everyone is too lazy.

They move for a reason. Since they have coverage with their current phone number, they decide not to change it to a local number. Changing it to a local number would require them to give out the new number to everyone and then having to make sure that their friends update their phone book accordingly.

How does that saying go?? Pay now or pay later.

Since you didn't pay now at the time of the move, you are having to pay the price much later in life.

I am truely sorry to hear that you didn't get your way. I am sure that you made everyone's day when you call and whined to them. You probably yelled at them too. Just remember one thing when dealing with Corporate America. The representatives that work for the company are only acting as a puppet and doing as said. Also, the head people of the company that provides Utility Services to the Public has only maybe 25% control of what can and can't be done. The Fabulous Gonvernment, that everyone loves, controls the other 75% and what they say is what has to go.

Part of the Meger deal, Verizon had to sell off some areas and that area MUST operate seperatly from Verizon. If they would have waived the fee and allowed you to switch to Verizon, they would have been in violation of YOUR government rulings.

Problem is, too many people has placed too much control in the government and now they are paying the price.

Think about it!
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#5 Author of original report

Response to Bryan - h*o Hum

AUTHOR: Frank - (U.S.A.)

BikeBryan,

While your comments are appreciated, they tend to reflect a lack of understanding of the issue. Yes, I now want out of my last remaining contract with Alltel. That was not my intent when I went to the store on February 14th. I actually wanted a new phone and was OK with another two year contract. Yes, I did receive a letter from Alltel, informing me that I would remain with Alltel after the merger, which at the time was fine.

When I found that I could no longer get local retail service anywhere within an 80 mile range, that is when I believe my level of service changed.

The letter from Alltel did not disclose that divestiture meant an 80 mile drive to get retail service, it just informed that my accounts would remain with Alltel. There was also only one notice by mail. By comparison the pending switch to HD TV is plastered everywhere. Alltel could have emailed multiple notices to consumers; but they did not. One notice, and no mention of the negative impacts of the switch. I will anticipate your response and agree that they did not have to take this extra step. Unfortunately, that is poor customer service at work at best, and at worst allow the company to meet a minimum responsibility for notice, while veiling conditions that could raise complaints and engender loss of customer base.

I note that you're located in Virginia. While I don't know the logistics of these companies in your region; how would you view the topic if informed that you had to drive to Pennsylvania to get access to local service?

As I note in my response, if there was even one local outlet in Tucson I believe my argument would be without merit. By comparison the local cable company in Tucson maintains one local office. I have to drive 8 miles to get there, but if I have to exchange equipment, I can do that and with only a very minor trip. Some folks in Tucson may have to drive 10 or 20 miles to get to the same cable store, and that still is ok. 80 miles? Service transferred to a rural community just south of Phoenix? I still maintain that this is a substantial change to service.

Despite your assessment of this complaint, I do believe that this was a substantial enough change to allow Alltel to allow an opt out of contract. On the technical grounds you may be correct, and I may end up paying to bail on Alltel. While this may all be true, I think consumers have a need to know that this situation exists. As it stands you may have Verizona/Alltel or Alltel or Alltel/Something Else. If my complaint makes consumers stop and ask questions about their plan, then it may force Alltel and Verizon to more clearly delineate to consumers the effects of their merger.
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#6 Consumer Comment

h*o Hum............

AUTHOR: Bikebryan - (U.S.A.)

Here's what I read in your post:

Wah Wah Wah Cry Cry Cry Tantrum Tantrum Tantrum why won't you give me what I want?

The Alltel/Verizon deal was well announced. Maps covering Divested area were available on the internet as early as June of last year. Alltel was sending out notices as separate mailings and as bill includes all throughout last year. They did their best to notify you.

Whether you like it or not, your contracts are still fully in force. Look at the terms and conditions you agreed to abide by; they are only holding you to those terms. You can receive service via the Phone and Internet.

The divestiture was in accordance to the conditions set by the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission. If you have a complaint about it blame them, not Alltel/Verizon.
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#7 Author of original report

Alltel Response to BBB Complaint - Goodwill Gesture - and My Response to Them

AUTHOR: Frank - (U.S.A.)

On February 24, 2009, the business provided the following information:
February 23, 2009

Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona
Attn: Kory
Dispute Resolution Specialist

Re: Mr. Frank xxxx
Case# 1902xxxx

Dear Kory

We have received the complaint filed by Mr. xxxx and appreciate the opportunity to address his concerns.

Our records show that Mr. xxxx has been a loyal customer to Alltel for 10 years and we appreciate his continued business with Alltel. Some of Alltel Wireless properties will transition to Verizon Wireless during 2009. Mr. xxxx's account ending in xxxx will not be apart of that transition. Mr. xxxx's account will continue to be served by Alltel Wireless. Mr. xxxx will still have access to all the great benefits Alltel provides, such as, My Circle, anytime rate plan changes and many other great services.

Please note that some Alltel stores and agents may be impacted by the transaction. Customers can find a full list of locations by visiting Alltel.com/storelocator. These locations will be able to assist in setting up new service, upgrading devices, making payments, processing insurance claims and more.

There will be no change to My Account, our online account management service. Customers will still be able to pay their bill, manage My Circle numbers and add lines. For more information on My account, customers may visit Alltel.com/myaccount. Alltel's Customer Service will also be available at 1-800-255-8351 to assist customers in this transition.

We understand that transitions can be difficult and communication regarding customer accounts has been sent to Alltel customers to assist with this transition. We are committed to providing customers with Alltel's high-quality products, services and customer support. As a goodwill gesture we have adjusted Mr. xxxx's account ending in xxxx for the total amount of $200.00 for mobile number ending in xxxx. Mr. xxxx will be responsible for an early termination fee for remaining mobiles on his account that are under contract. Mr. xxxx may account contact Alltel's Customer Service at 1-800-255-8351 for account assistance.

We apologize for any inconvenience Mr. xxxx has experienced and trust that this letter confirms our position in regard to this matter. If you have any questions or require any additional information, please contact us.

Sincerely,

Charleeka Thompson
Executive Customer Relations
EC # 13435


*** My Response to Alltel via the BBB ***

I am writing to reject the response from Alltel regarding my Better Business Bureau complaint #190xxxx. I would like to explain why I am rejecting this response and why I believe that I should be granted early termination on my one remaining ALLTEL phone line xxx-xxx-xxxx without an early termination fee

It is true that Alltel notified their customers that their services would remain with Alltel. However, they did not explain the extent to which services would be impacted in the Tucson area. My account and most likely many others, were divested as part of the FCC settlement in the ALLTEL-Verizon merger. Because my account was divested it has cut me off from access to retail services in the Tucson area. The extent to which services would be curtailed because my account was divested was not explained in Alltel's letter to their customers.

When I needed to replace a dead phone quickly I went to my local Alltel location, during normal business hours, on a normal business day. It was then that I found that none of the Alltel stores in Tucson could help me replace my phone, because my account was divested to another region. There is no way that a telephone-based service could substitute the service that I was requesting (replacement of a phone same-day) or expecting to receive. That level of service, local access to a retail location; which had been part of Alltel's service, was no longer available to me in Tucson because of divestiture. Online and telephone support cannot replace this aspect of the service that Alltel previously provided.

In their response Alltel states that some Alltel stores and agents may be impacted by the transaction. Customers can find a full list of locations by visiting Alltel.com/storelocator. These locations will be able to assist in setting up new service, upgrading devices, making payments, processing insurance claims and more.

I did take the advice in Alltel's response and searched for retail locations in the Tucson area. By entering my zip code I found a number of retail locations. What is important to note though, is that the search string represented customer stores that were not divested, and are now part of Verizon communications. The search string is as follows: http://go.mappoint.net/alltel/PrxInput.aspx?&LL=en-US&Divested=0

By changing the zero in the search string to look for retail locations that have been divested (retail locations I can use), you will find that the nearest retail locations are in Casa Grande, Gilbert, and Phoenix. When ALLTEL divested my account they did not inform me that there would be no local access to retail services in my region. The nearest retail access is 80 miles away. In a major metropolitan area this is a major change to service access, as in this case I needed to replace a phone on an immediate basis. I continue to maintain that this was a material adverse change to the service I expected to receive from Alltel, and that I should be able to terminate my one remaining line without an early termination fee. If even one retail location was available within 20 miles of my address I do not believe this argument would apply, as I would be able to reasonably go to that location. However, it is unreasonable to state that a change from 5-10 retail locations to none is not a material adverse change.

I would also like to address the goodwill gesture Alltel cites in their response. When I received my Alltel invoice I found that I was billed a $200 early termination fees for line xxxx. The contract on this line was due to expire on March 18, 2009. As Verizon explained to me, transitions within four months of contract expiration should not have an ETF. I contacted Verizon customer service on February 16 and they filed a request to Alltel to eliminate this fee. I checked the status of this request and found that Verizon had contacted Alltel and that they had resolved this matter on February 19. Alltel is practicing slight of hand in making a procedural matter look like a consumer good will gesture. There was no act of generosity or good will, rather Alltel complied with practices for their industry. It concerns me that Alltel would try to pass this matter off as a good will gesture, thinking that I would not verify the status of my request with Verizon.

Alltel is correct in that I have been a loyal customer of their service for ten years. Unfortunately, Alltel's inability to understand the level of impact that this change has had on my ability to access services in a timely manner at the local level, in a metropolitan area, has caused me to sever my relationships with them. In reflection of what had been an amicable business relationship I would hope that Alltel would respond with a common ground proposal that can allow settlement of this issue without further escalation.

Thanks you for the opportunity to reply.
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