In may 2006 I began a contract with Alltel in Thief River Falls, MN. After 1 year I "upgraded" my phone to a BlackBerry and subscribed to the BlackBerry service with Alltel. The service worked very well in northern Minnesota; but when I moved to the Twin Cities metro area, my BlackBerry service would not function in the town I moved to.
I spoke with a store near my home (about 30 miles away) and explained my problem. The rep at the store updated my roaming settings, but this did not solve the problem. I returned to the store two days later to discuss the issue again, at this time I upgraded my handset to a Windows Mobile device and did a "market transfer" hoping that the new equipment and a "home base" in my new area would take care of the issue. This did not work either, a trouble ticket was issued and I worked with the tech support folks on determining what the issue was and whether or not it could be resolved. After a couple of days, I received a call back stating that "everything is functioning properly with the network" and that the issue must be a handset problem. They further stated that since the "service should work" there was nothing more they could do. I had explained to tech support that I could not be without the data function for much longer and asked if the issue could not be resolved if I would be allowed to cancel the contract. I was told that I would be able to do that, and it would be entirely understandable if I did so.
I returned the phone to the store and took another Windows based handset to see if that would solve the problem. The new handset did not function properly either. I continuously received error messages that stated a data connection could not be established. I kept this phone for nearly a week, but the issues were not resolved. I spoke with tech support again and explained that my issues had not been resolved. I asked again if I could cancel the contract and go with a service provider that many of my colleagues have had good performance with. I was told that this would be OK and the termination fees would be waived. I verified a second time during the call that this would be OK, I was assured that it would be.
I spoke with a representative at the store and explained my conversation with tech support and was informed that I could cancel the contract without any penalties. I conducted an ESN change to my old phone, returned the new handset for a refund and ported my number the following day to Verizon. I followed the advice of both tech support and the retail store and contacted Alltel Financial Services immediately after the port was confirmed to finalize the cancellation of my account. I was told by Financial Services that they have nothing to do with cancellations and was transfered to "Retention." A good name for the department as they will not allow early terminations unless you have documentation that you have been deployed by the Armed Forces out of the Country.
Retention would not waive the termination fee on any of my three lines and stated that I was responsible for the $600 worth of termination fees. I asked to speak with a supervisor, who confirmed that the previous woman was correct. I requested a reconsideration due to their lack of data service in my new hometown and explained that I had been very happy with my service prior to moving and that I would prefer to keep the service if it would work. I further explained that I had provided over two weeks for Alltel to troubleshoot my issues to no avail. The supervisor would not back down. I explained that I had been promised by other representatives within Alltel that I would have the fees waived. She stated that these representatives did not have the authority to make that promise and therefore would not honor their guarantee.
I followed through with the cancellation of my three lines and now plan to call Alltel back. Hopefully I will get in touch with someone who will have an ounce of compassion for the little-guy who is just trying to meet the needs of his profession by being in touch with staff at all times. I have drafted a letter that I plan to send to the President of Alltel as well as any other contacts that may be interested in learning of my story.
I am requesting that all of the termination fees be waived due to a lack of service in my new home-town (and several areas that I travel to). I would be happy to speak with any representatives from Alltel or any other agency who are interested in helping me resolve this issue.
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