Carriers Still Have A Ways To Go

A new study from Consumer Reports should do little to change the opinion of many consumers that mobile phone service around the US sucks. The report found that 80% of users had experienced mobile phone problems, such as dropped calls or busy signals. 60% said they were not satisfied with their carrier’s responses to such problems. On top of that, 26% say that they’ve been overcharged on their mobile phone bills by at least $10. Clearly, the wireless carrier industry still has a long way to go in changing consumer perception that their mobile phone service will be dreadful, and the carrier will be of little help.

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Comments on “Carriers Still Have A Ways To Go”

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tanya cunningham (profile) says:

Cell Phone Retailers

Beware of cell phone retailers:

Cell phone retailers, such as the ones you find in Sam’s and Wal-Mart are great short term solutions to save $20-$40 on the latest phones when you upgrade or generate a new cell phone contract but they can cost you $$$ in the long run. Did you know those retailers have a limited selection because they buy the newest, untested phones in bulk quantities? This is how they can sell them for $20-$40 less than you get by going to your carriers actual store fronts. It does not benefit the retailer to report failures with the device to the manufacturer. Your carrier reports all warranty issues to the manufacturer. Did you know those retailers get $200 for each contract they renew? Did you know you have only 30 days to return the phone to exchange for one of their 8-10 options? Did you know that date does not apply to the date of your last exchange but only to the original purchase date? Did you know that issues you report to a retailer are never reported to your carrier? Did you know arrangements you make with your carrier that are programmed into your account cannot be viewed by a retailer? Did you know that customer service contacts with your carrier are all required to be recorded on your account by that customer service person? Did you know retailers, even though they may appear to be updating your information, do not have access to do so? Did you know when a retailer claims to be calling the customer service department of your carrier they are actually calling their customer service representative so you can hear their position supported by your carrier? The person on the other end of that line is not a representative concerned with protecting their relationship with you but actually a representative protecting the retailer!

I bought a phone through the AT&T retailer at Sam’s Club in Humble, TX. The phone did not work. It kept dropping calls. We took it back 2 weeks later, exchanged it for another identical phone. The phone would not hold calls using the headset, so my husband took it back 2 weeks later. The retailer told my husband it was the headset, not the phone, so we spent $100 on another upgraded headset. It still did not work. We took it back two weeks later. The retailer informed us we were out of our 30 day return period. He would exchange it for another identical phone or one of his 8 alternatives for a fee. We wanted him to take the phone back, cancel the upgrade, and allow us to go to the AT&T storefront, where we found the phone he wanted. They told us they would have to cancel our contract and charge a $200 penalty.

I called AT&T. Three customer service representatives, 2 supervisors, and a sales representative at the storefront told us they couldn’t help us until the retailer cancelled the sell. The retailer refused. We finally reached a supervisor who cancelled the upgrade, told us to keep the faulty phone, and go to the storefront to get another one. There was nothing they could do about the retailer that refused to assist us.

During this experience, I learned that due to the cell phone carriers’ contracts with the retailers they are not allowed to override their return policies. Once you purchase your phone from a retailer, you get to deal with that retailer for all of your phone issues for the duration of your contract. If that retailer shuts down, or refuses to help you, it is not the responsibility of your carrier to assist you with your phone.

The retailer has no motivation to assist you with equipment failures. It is straight off their bottom line. All they have to do is shut you up until the 30 days have expired, and then you’re screwed. A retailer is not going to give up the $200 they made off of your contract renewal. In short, the safest bet and best long term cost for a new phone is to purchase from your carrier’s storefront, online through your carrier, or through their customer service department. Don’t get scammed by a retailer!

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