• Report: #147882

Complaint Review: Cingular, AT&T, Alltel, T-Mobile, Spint, Nextel, Etc.

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  • Submitted: Wed, June 29, 2005
  • Updated: Wed, October 26, 2005

  • Reported By:Mineral Ridge Ohio
Cingular, AT&T, Alltel, T-Mobile, Spint, Nextel, Etc.
All Cell Phone Companies Anytown, Other U.S.A.

Cingular, AT&T, Alltel, T-Mobile, Spint, Nextel, Etc. cellular phone companies that provide an "out" for your contract & General Information Rude reps Billing Nationwide

*Consumer Comment: Arbatration is no good u automatically loose rights

*UPDATE Employee: Okay, these posts make me feel alot better

*UPDATE Employee: Wireless industry employee responds

*UPDATE Employee: An Alltel Employee Tells The Truth

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Since this didn't fit anywhere, I thought I would make it all encompassing.

Re: Contracts

Most companies I have read about on here and those that I have worked for or done business with cellular phone companies that provide an "out" for your contract. This is usually done through an arbitrator of some sort, that you must pay for at your expense. If you win, the company pays. If you lose, you're out your money and the termination fee. Furthermore, any "breach" of contract you feel is on the cell phone company's end must be proven by YOU at the arbitrator's hearing. In other words, the contracts are written in a way that places the burden of proof (unfairly so) on the consumer.

The terminology "penalty" with regards to cancelling your serice is not correct. The correct terminology for this is "Liquidated Damages." These companies are providing a phone to you at a significantly reduced cost at the time of activation or upgrade. By breaking the contract, the cell phone company is simply trying to recoup its costs lost by an early termination. Don't believe me on this one? Go to Best Buy or another retailer and see how much the retail price on a non-branded Motorola V3 Razr is.

Re: Service

ALL cell phone companies state that their maps are ONLY approximations of service and that they cannot guarantee service in all of those places at any given time and are held blameless for failure of said service due to congestion, weather, off-network service failures, etc.

Keep in mind that this is an over the air service. Lots of things can interfere with it including wind speed and direction.

Re: Rude reps

Keep in mind some of these reps are overworked and sometimes in overcrowded centers where they get screamed at, cussed at, otherwise verbally abused/insulted by hot head customers. Many would LOVE to do more, but cannot because there are policies and procedures that must be followed, lest they are out a job and cannot collect unemployment because the rules are written to the company's favor.

Re: Billing

Read your contract and review any and all written documentation you get when you sign up for service. If you don't get said documentation, do not activate.

39.99 is the price before taxes, fees, and surcharges.

Your service agreement says that you are subject to a reconnection fee if your service is interrupted for a past due bill. Electric companies, cable, gas, and landline companies have been doing this for years, why would cell phone companies be any different?

Never ever EVER text to a number you see on TV. Once you're on the list, it practically takes an act of God to get you off of it.

Re: Miscellaneous

Yelling and screaming at a representative on the phone accomplishes nothing and could make your situation far worse as some companies state in their contracts that doing so can result in your account being terminated immediately.

Yelling and screaming at a collections agent is even worse. Remember, one click of the mouse and your service is off or being sent to the analyst or risk management queue to be placed with a collection agency, an action not easily undone.

Hope this helps! :)

Brian
Mineral Ridge, Ohio
U.S.A.

Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Alltel

Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on AT&T

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/29/2005 01:11 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Cingular-ATT-Alltel-T-Mobile-Spint-Nextel-Etc/Anytown-Other/Cingular-ATT-Alltel-T-Mobile-Spint-Nextel-Etc-cellular-phone-companies-that-provid-147882. 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.

Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report.

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#1 Consumer Comment

Arbatration is no good u automatically loose rights

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

One thing that is not told here in the whole senerio of the ATT and other cell phone contracts, is that in a court of arbatration you loose all your rights as a customer.

The court has their own attorney you can not have one.

You loose all rights as a customer,and are behind a brick wall. Figh tthe people in small claims courts, that way you can win.

No ONE has ANY RIGH TO TAKE AWAY A RIGHT YOUR afforded in the CONSTITUTION, but it seems that companies today have so stacked the dek on you that they have a right to take away your rights.
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#2 UPDATE Employee

Okay, these posts make me feel alot better

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

Brian in Mineral Ridge, Ohio and Tyler in Greenwood, South Carolina. You guys should come work for T-Mobile. Very professional, Very well-written posts. Especially yours Tyler, I will remember what you said about catching flies with sugar. I agree!
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#3 UPDATE Employee

Wireless industry employee responds

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

Hello All,

I am a T-Mobile employee in the Chicago Market and would also love to offer some info that will help customer's understand the wireless industry.

COVERAGE MAPS
Most people offer a trial period. The trial period is not free, but if you cancel within the trial period you do not have to pay cancellation or breach of contract fees. T-Mobile does offer a 14 day trial period to decide whether or not T-Mobile service is right for you. T-Mobile's Personal Coverage Check is a tool that allows you to see if you will have coverage where you need it and also allow you to see how strong the signal will be. Typically, we will check coverage where you live, and where you work. However, it is good for the customer to also ask about places they may be visiting. T-Mobile wants their employees to do Personal Coverage Checks with anyone who stops into our retail stores asking about our service. Though not 100% accurate, The Personal Coverage Check is more accurate than the coverage brochures. An area may appear to have coverage in a brochure, but with a Personal Coverage Check you get to find out how good the coverage is. Sure, the brochure may indicate coverage, but is it great signal, average signal, weak signal, or maybe even no signal. You can check out the Personal Coverage Check tool online at www.t-mobile.com.

FREE PHONES & UPGRADES
I agree, phone prices are very high. Crazy as it seems, the phones you buy at your wireless provider's retail store are in fact sold at a discount. It is important to know that T-Mobile does not make the phones. Cingular does not make phones. Sprint does not make phones.

So who does make phones???

Motorola makes phones. Samsung. Nokia. Siemens. Sony Erricson. Sharp. Kyocera. Sanyo. A bunch of manufactures make phones, the actual provider does not. Your wireless provider decides which phones they would like to offer to their customers. Motorola, Samsung, Nokia, etc., then models the phone specifically for your wireless provider (e.g. puts your wireless provider's logo on the LCD screen) and your company buys these phones at a price more expensive than what you pay. The phones are sold to customers for less money that what the the company paid for them, so believe it or not: no matter how expensive you think a phone is, your company cannot continue to give you free phone after free phone.

An example available to everyone is the basic Nokia 6010. You can view the FULL PRICE of any Nokia phone on their website, www.nokia.com. You can purchase from their website as well. The full price of the basic Nokia 6010 is $100. If you're activating a new line of service, T-Mobile offers this phone for free. If you're into your 5th month of service and you lost your Nokia 6010, or it broke, or somebody stole it, will you get another free Nokia 6010??? NO. Does best buy give you a free tv because you broke the one you bought 5 months ago? The phone was free because you activated a new line. Not because it is cheap. Think of how many free tv's your cable company gave you. Think of how long you've had with your home telephone company, and think of what they said when you called to tell them that you broke your house phone. If your replacing a Nokia 6010, the phone can cost anywhere between $20 to $100.

Q. Are there alternatives to paying so much for a phone???
Alternative 1. Yes. Look on ebay. If you have T-Mobile or Cingular, make sure you purchase a GSM phone and that it is made specifically for your company. If a phone is not made for any specific company, make sure it is GSM and that is UNLOCKED.
Alternative 2. Use a friend's old phone, put your sim card in it - does not cost you a thing (unless you have to purchase a sim card they are $20).
Alternative 3. Keep your old phones! Do not believe anyone who tells you to turn in your old phones when you upgrade. You are basically giving them permission to steal your phone. Do not turn your old phones into toys for your children unless you are certain you will never get use out of them again.
Alternative 4. Visit your local indirect dealer (authorized dealer, not a corporately owned retail store). Many of them have phones that unsuspecting customers turn over when they upgrade. Be aware that any phone you buy at an indirect dealer may be used and may not be under warranty. Always ask if it is under warranty and even still do not take the indirect dealer's word for it! Call your wireless provider and verify that the phone you bought at the indirect dealer is under warranty. Keep in mind that an indirect dealer (authorized dealer) knows a little bit about each company. A corporately owned T-Mobile Retail Store rep knows a lot about one company: T-Mobile.

Q. Will a phone you buy on ebay be under warranty???
A. Some of them are. Most are not.

Q. Can you get insurance for a phone you bought on ebay, from a friend, or indirect dealer???
A. No. The company has no way of knowing what kind of condition the phone came in. You can take it to the corporate retail store and show it to the reps all you want, but the reps don't know off hand how new or old it really is. The only thing the rep is certain about is if we sold it to you, we will back it up. If you bought it on ebay, or from an indirect dealer, see if they can back it up. Most indirect dealers offer their own insurance. If you sign up for insurance through an indirect dealer, make sure you know who handles your claims!!!! For T-Mobile, optional insurance is available through a company named Asurion. So if you have T-Mobile and your insurance company is called Digital Buyer's Club, you didn't buy insurance directly from T-Mobile; you got it from an indirect dealer.

NOW THE MOST COMMON THING IN WIRELESS RETAIL STORES:

DO NOT WALK INTO ANY WIRELESS PROVIDER'S RETAIL STORE AND DEMAND A FREE PHONE!

Like Tyler and Brian said, treat others the way you would like to be treated. If you truly are having bad reception, do not blame the first rep you see, he's got nothing to do with it. Go to the reps for help. Keep in mind, the reps deal with people all day long who try to get something for nothing. Whether it be credits off their bill, free phones, free accessories, free months of service, no activation fee, you name it. People even walk into the store and ask for the free phones, without service. People walk in asking for free things ALL DAY LONG. The reps hear the same excuses ALL DAY LONG:
"I've been a customer for ..."
"I pay insurance . . ."
You gotta do something. . .
"I've got 10 lines with your company. . ."
"If I don't get it I'm going to cancel. . ."
"My contract is up"

Remember that wireless providers do not make a profit on the phone. Like Tyler said, that is why the yearly contracts exist. If you pay insurance, guess what, you still pay a deductible for the phone. That's insurance, no matter what kind of insurance. Car insurance requires a deductible, so does health insurance, phone insurance is no different. If your phone is stolen, yes, you actually fill out a police report for a cell phone. Your contract can be up, still does not mean you'll get a free phone. WHY NOT? Because you may have gotten a discount on a phone last month, or 2 months ago, or 3. With T-Mobile, you can get a free phone as long as you have not bought one in the past 11 months, and as long as your rate plan is a qualifying one. With Sprint you can get a free phone every 18 months. With Verizon, every two years. Television commercials and newspaper ads have convinced everybody that cellular phones should be free when in actuality cell phones are expensive. Take care of them.

If you truly are having trouble help the rep understand the issue, and the rep will try to help you. When you walk in demanding a free phone your wasting the rep's time because they are not going to do it just because you say so. Your also asking them to do something they cannot. It's like walking into Walmart and saying I've been getting my prescription here for ten years, give me some free medicine. Walk in and ask for help, see what can be done. If the rep understands your situation, the rep will be willing to escalate you to someone who can get you a free phone. The rep may even be willing to deal with the next higher level so that you won't have to.

People switch companies all the time for various reasons. Free phones is the worst reason to switch. For what???? Your going to leave a service that you may already like and be comfortable with. Your going to switch to a service that may be more expensive than what you currently have. Your going to pay activation fees. Your going to sign a 2 year contract (1 year for T-Mobile). Your going to lose your entire phonebook. AND it's not going to be any different when you walk into your next companies' store demanding a free phone five months after you broke your first free phone.

I've worked for AT&T, Cingular, and now T-Mobile. I can tell you that ALL companies have the same exact list of complaints. If you look at this website and do a search for complaints about SPRINT, you will find the same exact complaints there that you will find for T-Mobile, Alltel, US Cellular, etc... No company is perfect. You can try them all. Each have their own advantages. Some have better rate plans. Some have bigger coverage. Some have few dropped calls, some have many dropped calls. Some have nicer phones. Some have shorter contracts. The wireless industry is very competitive. Take the time to find out which company is right for you. Don't let free phones be the reason to sign up with a company. Be responsible. When it comes to cellular phones, you get exactly what you paid for.

I would like to say thank you to Brian in Mineral Ridge, Ohio and thank you to Tyler in Greenwood, South Carolina. Tyler your one helpful guy, if I was ever in the south Carolina market I'd consider Alltel just cause of you taking the time to help clear up the most mis-understood issues. I hope that this has been helpful to at least one person.
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#4 UPDATE Employee

An Alltel Employee Tells The Truth

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

Since the previous poster decided to post in this manner, so will I. I am posting here because I don't want anyone to think I am directly attacking their "complaint." What I'm here to do is set the record straight and tell you like it is.

First of all, I am an Alltel customer service representative. I'm 23 years old, a full time student, I work because I have bills to pay and need things like my own cell phone, my car, and a place to live. My favorite color is blue, and my favorite season is fall. I tell you this only to establish that I am a REAL PERSON. I have feelings, I'm compassionate, and I have the same goals in life as you do - to succeed. I trust that when most of my customers call they show me the same respect that I show them - it doesn't have to be earned, it's just there from the beginning.

I do not appreciate being yelled or screamed at, cussed at, called bad names, being told what I can do to myself, or that I am an idiot or not as smart as the customer on the phone. While this happens only occasionally, it does happen. I also do not care who you are, who you know or what you might do to me if you don't get your way. To me you are a person just like I am and I'm going to treat you like I want to be treated. This applies whether you're just a normal person, or a queen. You wouldn't like it if I called your house and said "Hey moron, do this for me" would you? I didn't think so. This being said we'll start our discussion.

It is human nature that if we are being treated poorly, we are not going to give as good of service as we would have if we weren't being treated in this manner. When you call ANY customer service number you must first realize that your issue is with the company and the person you are getting on the phone is there to help mediate those issues. Treating this person like crap doesn't further your cause or offer you any help.

I said this was going to be nothing but the truth, so here goes. If you treat me like crap - I'm not inclined to help you. At all. If you're calling about a legitimate problem and the only way you know how to remedy that problem is to cuss and scream, too bad. Sure, you may be due a credit, but if you've just called me every bad name you can think of how likely are you to get it? Not very likely.

The truth is we have been trained to deal with your issues. Most of the time when someone calls in, we can clearly identify what the issue is and not have to have you on the phone for a very long time. If you were on the wrong plan, we can fix that. If you are due a re-rate, we can do that. If your contract was up and you disconnected and were charged a termination fee, while we're sorry to see you go, we can take care of that. If you let us. If you talk over us we're going to get nowhere. Do you really think that if I'm taking 115+ calls a day from people and I get one from you and you are yelling and screaming - how much time am I going to spend with you? Not much.

Now we'll cover a few issues that are most commonly complained about on RipoffReport. Had the lines of communication been open we wouldn't be discussing them... But so be it.

Letting friends/family/whoever have lines of service in your name: BAD IDEA, don't do it. If you do decide to do it and put your SSN on the credit application, you are responsible. End of story/case closed. If they don't pay their bill, you have to. If their phone gets shut off for non-payment so does yours. No questions asked. We will call you to let you know you're delinquent and if you choose not to pay for all lines you're responsible for you will be interrupted.

Activation fee: It's $20, we charge it on all new lines. Most of the time we do not waive it. It's in our welcome booklet. Take the time to read the booklet and the contract and you'll see it. If you say "No one told me there was an activation fee," it's on the contract you signed. Didn't sign a contract? Ordered through telesales? They say there's an activation fee in their closing script.

Roaming: We offer three levels of plans. local, national, everything. If you have a local plan that covers you in your home area only and you travel to Alaska and continue to use your phone, you're roaming. You know this as well as we do. We assume you are a responsible adult who can clearly decipher the costs of roaming. Don't want to roam? Switch to Total Freedom.

Billing: Yes, we as a large company do occasionally have billing issues. It is unavoidable. When a computer bills you and a parameter is incorrect it does create a problem. Follow my guidelines of friendliness and your bill will be re-rated at the correct rate plan.

Taxes: We all pay them. City, State, Federal. There's nothing you, I, nor Alltel can do about it. Don't want to pay taxes, don't buy anything.

Lost or stolen phones: "I lost my phone three weeks ago" is not acceptable. "My phone was stolen last night" is. If you lose your phone or it gets stolen, let us know. We do not have a crystal ball. If your phone is stolen and someone racks up $5,000 in charges on it and you let us know three weeks later - you're paying that bill. We could have prevented those charges if you'd let us know.

Identity Theft/I was out of the country: Ok, we accept that this is 2005 and all of our personal information is floating around out there somewhere. ID Theft is something that is devastating and hard to recover from. However, getting a $500 bill and then saying "Oh, this isn't me. This is ID Theft" or "I was out of the country" isn't going to cut it by itself. If this is Identity Theft, we want a police report. Also, if you were out of the country, who else had access to your personal information? Was this account opened by your wife, your friend, your sister, your mother, your father, your son, your daughter? Here's an even more pressing question - ARE YOU WILLING TO PROSECUTE a member of your family? No? You just accepted ownership of the account. If it's fraud and you help us in proving it's fraud we'll help you do whatever we can. We've written off bills that were into the thousands of dollars that were documented fraud cases.

Phone is older than one year old: Most manufacturers cover their phones for ONE YEAR of warranty. This means if it is a manufacturer's defect they will replace or repair your phone. An example of a manufacturer's defect is the pixels in the LCD display burning out. "I sat on my phone and now the flip is broken off, can I have another?" is NOT a manufacturer's defect. That's an example of you need to be a little more responsible.

New phone: New phones come out everyday just like computers. Some have better reception than others. It is true that the Nokia family gets better reception but this comes at a premium. Nokia phones aren't as stylish as let's say Kyocera. That Kyocera slider may be pretty but it may not get very good reception. It's the nature of the design. If for whatever reason you want a new phone and are under contract, in most cases that'll be $400 please. Phones cost money. Lots of money. Cell phone companies give you a very big discount (or give you a free phone) to begin with to get you to use our services. Our plans are designed that we recoup our money over two years. If you lose that phone or want to upgrade, you have to pay. When you are not in contract if you do decide to get a new phone for 99 you are renewing. You just agreed to use our services for two more years in most cases.

Insurance: You pay a deductible and receive a similar phone. Similar meaning that it is as close to possible to your original phone allowing for discontinuance and replacement. If you have a Nokia flip with Bluetooth, that's what it'll be replaced with or a phone similar to it with the same features. If you have a 99 Nokia, don't expect a $400 Nokia flip. You are also limited to the amount of times you can claim on the insurance and a deductible applies to each replacement. Just because a new phone just came out doesn't mean your phone was just lost/stolen/destroyed. That's called insurance fraud. Lockline is a registered insurance company.

$30 credit: Sure, I can give a $30 credit without my supervisor's consent. But why am I going to give you $30 just because you asked (as one person suggested)? If you deserve it, sure. If not, get a job.

My bill went to my old address: Well, who's fault is that? We can only do so much. We send all of our bills "Address Service Requested." If you didn't forward your mail with the post office, how are we to know how to get you your bill? Also "Alltel never called me" fits into this category also. If we have your old work and home numbers, how are we to reach you there? A Dixie cup and string would be easier to use than trying to figure out where you are or how to call you.

Alltel ruined my credit: No we didn't. You did. By the time Alltel refers an account to collection, it is usually MANY months late. Our in-house collectors have pretty much given up on your account. If it was fraud - why did it take you a year to realize it? If you were going to pay the bill when you can, why didn't you call and tell us? If it was a billing error, why did you let your service get disconnected over $30 and why didn't you speak to us in a civilized manner? Alltel has to pay collection agencies to collect for us. If you owe us $1,000 and a collection agency spends seven months trying to collect and then they finally settle with you for $500, do you know how much Alltel gets? Usually less than $200. And you wonder why our plans are "so expensive."

Lost my job/economic hardship: We're very sorry for your loss. The loss of a job can be hard to deal with. In the world we live in and the state of our economy, none of us are guaranteed a job. If you do lose your job, we'll do all we can if you let us know. If you can't pay your phone bill, call our account termination department and ask them to disconnect your service. Sure, if you are under contract you'll have to pay the termination fee. While you may not be able to pay right now, make an arrangement for when you can. Don't just let your phone get shut off after three months of past due bills and then get charged the termination fee. This is never a good thing. In this case, this is why "Alltel ruins your credit."

Free M2M, M2M, night/weekend minutes: If your plan qualifies you for free mobile to mobile, mobile to home, or free night and weekend minutes, YOU get those minutes. If your sister is on a $29 basic plan and doesn't get those minutes, of course she has to pay when you call her. Night minutes do not start at 5 p.m. They start at 9 p.m.

Text messaging: We offer plans to include text messaging. Usually when you leave the store with our phone we try to get you to sign up for the free month of texting. We know people use it. It costs to use it without a plan. If you decline a text plan and your 15 year old daughter texts away your life savings, don't blame Alltel. Enough said.

These are just a few of the guidelines my co-workers and I could come up with. Just remember, we're not here to be rude to you. We're here to make sure you get what you're paying for and aren't paying too much for what you're getting. We want to help you. We want to be nice to you. I'm sure your grandmother or someone has told you in your life "You catch more flies with sugar than you do vinegar." Be sweet as sugar and we'll return the favor.

On a closing note, this post is not meant to treat anyone like they don't already know these guidelines. It is a reminder. We're not trying to treat you badly, we're not trying to treat you like you're stupid. We're trying to help. Remember, you can always call us whenever you need something; visit our stores - or online at alltel.com. Thank you.
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