Customers on the hook

Dealings with a cellphone provide prove to be a source of frustration

Do your read the contracts you sign when you commit to a three-year plan with your cellphone provider? You should. I never thought I’d get so upset that I’d want to terminate my contract, but after the problems I’ve had with my provider I looked into what it would cost me. Over 10 months into the three years and it would cost me more to terminate the contract than the $500 phone would have cost me in the first place.

I’m a pretty forgiving person. Stuff happens right? When I first bought the phone online it took them weeks to deliver the phone to me. I phoned customer service and nobody seemed to know why it hadn’t been sent out yet. Eventually I found out that they were waiting for it to be restocked. A little frustrating but, like I said, stuff happens.

I get the phone finally and arrange for bill notifications to be sent to me by email. After a while the monthly notifications stop coming. A few months in a row I have to phone customer service to get this sorted out. During that time I go online to get my bill. I had problems for a few weeks signing into their website. I know it wasn’t me making the mistake because I was double checking my password. Sometimes the site would let me in and other times it wouldn’t. Then the bill’s due date on my account page on their website is different than the due date on the downloadable pdf bill. So I have to call and make sure I’m paying my bills on time.

Some time later I get a text message early in the morning. I honestly can’t remember the time but it was not even close to business hours. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal but at this point I’m wondering if they’ve got monkeys running things. I phone customer service to ask not to be texted my bill notification (emails seem to be coming monthly at this point).

Then recently I get a text at 6:18 a.m., on the weekend no less. I knew who it was right away before even checking it. Again, I phone customer service and the guy tells me that there’s a notice on my account in their system that I’m not supposed to be getting bill notifications by text and he doesn’t know why this is still happening. Nice enough guy and I felt a little bad for him because he couldn’t help me (I was clearly frustrated). He tells me that he’ll send a message to another department and they’ll look into it.

Now I’m seriously contemplating having my contract terminated, but I don’t think it’s right that 10 months into my contract it’s more expensive than buying the phone outright. Surely some of the roughly $800 I’ve paid to them up until now has paid even some of the cost of the phone. Considering the problems I’ve been having, I figured they may be willing to compromise somewhat on the costs of terminating the contract, but I’ve been told that the best they can do is give me free voice-mail and call display. Not good enough.

So give it a second thought before you sign on for three years. I would like to add that the agents I dealt with were doing a decent job. Other than that, the service has been a gong show.

Paul Russo