Cingular Gets Kicked Out of the BBB

from the no-you-can't-speak-to-my-supervisor dept

Following word that US consumers' satisfaction with mobile operators continued its downward trend last year comes word that the country's biggest carrier, Cingular, has been kicked out of the Better Business Bureau in upstate New York for poorly handling customer complaints. The BBB requires members to answer all complaints, whereas Cingular had 20 outstanding as unanswered or unresolved (and 200 total) over the past three years. While the move is more symbolic than it is meaningful, it highlights the growing complaints people have with mobile carriers. The BBB says its largest segment of complaints in 2004 was against carriers, but as long as the US market and carriers' business keep growing, it seems doubtful that things will change much.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
    identicon
    vlad, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 11:47am

    cingular sux

    YES!!! THANK YOU!! cingular is the worst carrier out there. No reception, horible customer service, and they will not let me upgrade my plan, so for the next 3 months i have to pay $200 a month! DOWN WITH CINGULAR

     

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  2.  
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    Retell, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 12:00pm

    Re: cingular :(

    I personally use sprint and enjoy the cutomer service, I just wish they had the phones cingular got, I hope with the new nextel merger, we can get cingular quality phones with sprint service.

     

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  3.  
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    Rock, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 12:02pm

    Re: cingular sux

    Not good to hear. Just had to switch to cingular, because the government forced AT&T Wireless to sell it's customer's in Oklahoma to Alltel, which had horrible service, so switched to cingular. Two year contract, so I guess I'm screwed.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Withheld, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 12:16pm

    Re: cingular sux

    AMEN! I used to work for Cingular. I am a customer service professional with over 6 years experience.
    Cingular's internal policies for its Customer Service Reps (CSR's) require the CSR's to violate every rule of ethical customer service and then Cingular takes disciplinary actions against CSR's that violate policies.
    Next, they give different policies to different departments and sometimes even ambiguous policies to one department that often leaves customers in transfer-and-hold hell. When I was working there, Cingular was making monthly payments for fines to the California Public Utilities commission because Cingular's internal policies violated California law with regard to telephone services.
    To top it off, I had to file a wage claim form with the state to get them to issue me my final paycheck. Furthermore, less than 1 year ago (I quit working for them 2 1/2 years ago) I received a settlement check from them that was ordered by the US Dept. of Labor to recompense me and other workers. The check was for forcing us to be at our stations five-ten minutes before our shift to read the emailed policy updates so that we could log into our phones and start taking calls the moment that our shift started.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 12:17pm

    Re: cingular sux

    Cingular has let me change my plan many times in the past, but I'm not in NY...

     

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  6.  
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    Withheld, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 12:20pm

    Re: cingular sux

    You that switched in Oklahoma may be OK. The states where Cingular (i.e. Oklahoma, Texas, and Georgia) has a physical location with a customer service center often get better customer service. It's a case where different departments get different policies. Cingular's department that handles Oklahoma, Texas, and Georgia had very relaxed policies (at least while I was working there).

     

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  7.  
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    dorpus, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 12:40pm

    Heh

    When I lived back in California, everyone worshipped Verizon, and people couldn't say worse things about Cingular. But in Michigan, the situation is reversed -- Verizon's reception is non-existent throughout most of Michigan, it seems. Haven't had any problems with Cingular.

     

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  8.  
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    Ray, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 12:49pm

    Re: Heh

    Dunno what to think about this. In Florida, Cingular is by far the top customer service provider in cell phones. They replace defective phones overnight, upgrade when better plans become available. I am HARD on customer service and these guys rule the roost. I have been with them since '97!

     

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  9.  
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    dennis, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 12:54pm

    Re: cingular :(

    Or maybe vice versa...

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 1:09pm

    holy crap thats local....

    Ya I live in Western NY, Rochester actually and Cingular blows here (reception is worthless on my work phone)...terrible customer service. Verizon is the king here and I doubt they will ever be dethrowned. I worked for a subisdary that sold Cingular and had COUNTLESS returns of phones in which I had to tell customers, I'm sorry your past your 5 day contract clause...deal with it. The only thing I have ever noticed nice about cingular vs. verizon is the way in which you activate or transfer with chip, verizon does phone activations. :(

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 2:06pm

    Re: holy crap thats local....

    Cingular and Verizon are the two WORST mobile providers.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 2:07pm

    Love this quote

    "We take all customer complaints very seriously, and we're working diligently to address the concerns brought to our attention by the BBB of Upstate NY. We want to set this right,"

    Why weren't they working diligently to address the concerns brought to thier attention by the customers?

     

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  13.  
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    xxcorpxx, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 2:10pm

    Re: holy crap thats local....

    Cingular - CNG "Orange" network is by far the best in the nation.
    If you have an old Cingular "Blue" phone (AT&T), then the reception sucks. Should be resolved in the next few months.
    Verizon IMO is the worst carrier ever. They don't give 2 ___ about their customers. Always had nothing but trouble with Verizon's support.

    Cingular has been a pleasure for 3 years now.

    On the cingular business side, I have had a lot of trouble because of the merge but, hope to have the worked out by October. Just hope they change their Business plan to match AT&T's. They have markets for most states and don't allow pooling of minutes outside of each market. This isn't to good for a large corporate deployment.

    Basically, every carrier hires idiots to do tier 1 customer service. Just have to get past them!!!

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Jason Nelms, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 2:12pm

    Cingular

    Cingular is horrible. My coverage is never up. I can be sitting still and have full signal with my T-mobile phone and my Cingular phone will bounce from full signal to no coverage so many times that I will just give up on the call I am on. I will be switching back to T-mobile once my contract is up with Cingular. I would do it now but I wrote a letter to the Executive Vice President complaining about my service and instead of offering to check into the problems I am having, they told me that I could cancel my service but that I would have to pay a $175 fee for breaking my 2 year contract. They hide behind this contract like it is a shield. I would never suggest this service(or lack thereof to anyone).

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    xxcorpxx, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 2:27pm

    Re: Cingular

    We tried deploying T-Mobile corporate and it was horrible. Make sure you have an orange sim phone.

     

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  16.  
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    Jason Nelms, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 2:34pm

    Re: Cingular

    I do. Cingular has bad coverage here in Nashville and they have no plans to make it better. "Raising the Bar" my butt!!

     

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  17.  
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    Withheld, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 2:44pm

    Re: holy crap thats local....

    Yes, they all hire idiots. They also hire some very brilliant CSR's. What you have to get past is the tier 1 AND tier 2 CSR's, because their hands are tied by local policies. (Tier 2 CSR's are the managers of the Tier 1 CSR's.)

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Withheld, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 2:47pm

    Re: Cingular

    Which is interesting, because in many markets, T-Mobile leases tower space from Cingular. That indicates that it is something to do with Cingular's computers, not their towers. If you're in California, you MAY be able to get out of the contract without a fee by complaining to your PUC about them (depending on the situation you are in and who you talk to at the PUC).

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    1251, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 2:48pm

    No Subject Given

    I've had no issues with Cingular the entire 2 years I've been with them. But then, I figured out how much I would use the phone BEFORE I signed up, and am careful to not use too many of my rollover minutes when I know I've been talking a lot. That combined with the fact all I ever use my phone for is talking and an occasional text message, I don't have ultra-unrealistic expectations of uber-superior service.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Hate being a Cingular Customer, but still one, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 3:19pm

    No Subject Given

    I think as soon as other wireless companies start providing roll over minutes, they are going to lose all its customers (definitely me).

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 7:32pm

    It's a mixed bag

    Cingular service and satifaction seems to really vary with each customer. Myself, I've had mixed results.

    On the plus side, Cingular does have pretty good coverage, I've had good luck with the phones, and the 2-phone family plan I was on was reasonable. When Cingular initially sent me the wrong SIM cards, the customer service rep. sent me to the local store to get the right ones, credited my account the cost of the cards, waved $70 in activation fees, and credited my account with 1000 free minutes.

    On the negative side, like most carriers, Cingular has started nickel and diming perople for everything. 10 cent per text message, 1 cent per/KB, 45 cent/minute overrage, and the list goes on. They've managed to increase the overall cost of a two phone family plan, and have a terrible $9.99/month for 1MB of data Internet plan. Roll-over minutes? Better look out when they start expiring, because you'll pay through the nose.

    Calling customer service always results in a minimum 5 minute wait, and then you may or may not get a compassionate rep.

    I'd like to see the cell-phone market saturate in the US, so there will be pressure to start competing for customers and prices can come down. Not likely to happen any time soon...I was in the mall over the weekend, and the Cingular store was mobbed.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anon, Sep 12th, 2005 @ 7:59pm

    Re: cingular :(

    Retell, I use sprint as well. I love their service, except for analog roaming ($.50/min! WTF!). That REALLY needs to be no more than say, $15 a month for unlimitted analog roaming.

    The other area Sprint needs to improve on is billing. They turned off my phone for being a day late in paying, but for 3 days I had been trying to pay online and on my phone, always getting "Sorry, we're upgrading right now." So, if you get Sprint, always pay a week or two early. At least they do turn your service back on lickity-split once you pay.

    My signal is usually only 1 or 2 bars for digital, where it would normally be 3 or 4 bars for analog (5 being full). But, I've never lost a digital signal with at least 1 bar, and it's always clear. They also have great internet data rates, unless you are in the far interior of a large building, say, a central bathroom.

    I can't wait until the push-to-talk 2-way functions of Nextel and Sprint work together. Everyone I know that actually uses that function has Nextel already, even though Sprint's prices for multiple-phones and unlimitted minutes was much cheaper. I used to have Nextel. If everyone I knew had push-to-talk, I'd never text message or make an actual phone call. I really miss it, even though I still have it (but nobody to 2-way to on Sprint's network).

    That, and I love Sprint's picture mail where you can add voice and/or text messages. Other's may do it too, but I've never seen them in action.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    thecaptain, Sep 13th, 2005 @ 4:26am

    Not quite...

    it highlights the growing complaints people have with mobile carriers


    No. It highlights the growing power of corporations who are starting to realize that they don't have to care about the BBB anymore, this is the first of many to be kicked out. They realize people are sheep to commercials and they will make their millions no matter how badly they treat customers...its a sad state of affairs.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    furguson, Nov 13th, 2005 @ 9:41pm

    All carriers sux

    I figured that one way or the other, they all have positives and they all have negatives depending where you live. Like some people think chevy rules well other think ford rules.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    matt, Jun 20th, 2006 @ 11:38pm

    Re: Re: holy crap thats local....

    If Verizon sucks so bad compared to Cingular than why does Verizon have the lowest churn rate "turn over" rate out of all the us carriers and Cingular one of the highest? Why do people who don't get there way think a company has bad customer service? Just because you don't always get a free phone because you abused your warranty does not mean you should just get one at the discounted rate. I never get a discounted car from ford when I void my warranty. They don't give me a free car. Everyone knows Verizon is the best and Cingular is terrible. That is why even sprint posted more gains than them last quarter.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Tony N, Jul 12th, 2006 @ 11:26pm

    VZW vs Cingular

    I have been a customer of Verizon for lotsa years. Just got a Terrific new phone for $50 due to my long time with them.
    But, tho I love the phone I am outraged that they have disabled the bluetooth and USB connectivity to only allow use of THEIR costly subscrition services!
    Cingular bluetooth phones can sync with your computer and PDA via bluetooth. Pix, sounds, calendar, phonebook etc. Verizon phones will not.
    USB will only allow you to transffer sounds, pix and flix from your PC that you have downloaded from thier expensive "Vcast" services. Bluetooth only allows for use of headsets or car "hands-free" kits. No connectivity to anything else at all! VZW has even had to settle a class action lawsuit over failure to disclose this to customers prior to sale.
    Verizon has deliberately disabled services you could use for free to force you onto their pay services.
    I think that is gouging and taking advantage of their customers. I understand there are workarounds for some of this but who needs to jump through hoops?

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    A.ODZA, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 7:57am

    CINGULAR CAN KISS MY ASS

    CINGULAR SUCKS,I MADE TWO ATTEMPTS ALREADY TO TRY AND FIGURE OUT HOW MY BILL HAD ALMOST TRIPLED IN THE LAST TWO MONTHS OF SERVICE I HAD, BEFORE THEY WENT RIGHT TO COLLECTIONS WITHOUT WORKING ANYTHING OUT.MY BILL IN THE 3 YEARS I HAD THAT SERVICE AVERAGED AROUND 150 PER MONTH.THE LAST 2 BILLS WERE AT 350 TO 500 PER MONTH AND A 300 EARLY TERMINATION FEE, NOW I HAVE A 1100 DOLLAR BILL FOR LESS THAN 2 MONTHS OF SERVICE AND THE COLLECTION COMPANY WANTS 200 FOR THEIR FEE TOTAL IS OVER 1300. STAY AWAY FROM CINGULAR THEY ARE MAJOR CROOKS.NO CUSTOMER SERVICE HELP TO RESOLVE ANYTHING.I WANTED TO MAKE PAYMENTS TO THEM AND TRY TO RESOLVE IF THEY HAD JUST TAKEN SOME TIME AND RE CORRECTED MY BILL BUT IT WAS AS USELESS AS TITS ON A BULL.NOW THEY WONT SEE A DIME AND I WILL CONTINUE TO FIGHT THIS IDON'T ROLL OVER EASILY.THIS IS MY MONEY I WORK FOR I DON'T JUST GIVE IT AWAY LIKE WATER.

     

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