by Mike Masnick

How Do You Hate Your Mobile Phone Company? Let Me Count The Ways...

from the it-goes-on-and-on-and-on dept

Yesterday, we were talking about how the mobile phone operators have started insulting each other as a way to avoid having to actually focus on how much their own networks also have problems. However, they're not fooling anyone. People still love to hate their mobile operators, and PC World is listing out just a few of the ways... and we'd imagine it can go on and on and on. While perhaps they can get away with it when everyone else is just as bad, at some point it's going to be a serious problem. Instead of fighting over whose bad system is slightly better, isn't it worth actually addressing some of the many customer complaints?

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  1. identicon
    Sean Tierney, 12 Sep 2006 @ 1:29pm

    Sprint's customer service is a human hamstermaze

    I ended up switching to Cingular and have no complaints about their customer service. Sprint however ran me through a 2 hour obstacle course on the phone and when I finally got to the right authority who could solve my problem, my phone's batter died and I had to start from scratch. I wrote the whole story up here last year-> http://www.scrollinondubs.com/?p=4


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Lee Jones, 12 Sep 2006 @ 1:33pm

    Verizon device lock-in will eventually make me swi

    I've been toying with switching to a different company. I've read plenty of articles indicating that mobile service overseas is superior and cheaper. There are several companies offering free incoming calls now. My wife is rather enamoured with Verizon's service, but she's been weakening lately. Especially since our new Nokia phones have a bunch of features locked that she wants to use.

    *Sigh*... I'll probably move to Cingular when my current VZ subscription is up, maybe bundle it with my DSL and homephone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Alan, 12 Sep 2006 @ 1:42pm

    Verizon's Stunningly Impossible Website

    Spent four hours getting new phones and adding a line to my account. After going back and forth between the site and customer service, I ended up in customer service only to have them prove that their site was programmed incorrectly! I carry both Verizon and Cingular phones, one for work and one for personal use--it's nice to have a backup when one can't catch a signal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Jo Mamma, 12 Sep 2006 @ 1:43pm

    Seriously, why does cell phone service suck

    What is the deal with cell phone service, truly?

    I'm a tech dude, but I can't STAND talking on cell phones, and do it only as a last resort. I can't hear crap on the things compared to a land line. Is there some kind of audio sampling rate these carriers tune down so the towers can handle more bandwidth?

    Are there any hopes out there for cell phones to get as good as land lines one day?

    I know we've got some smart people on these forums, I hoping one of you phone phreak types can shed some light on why this service STILL sucks.

    Granted, customer service is crap all around, but am I the only one that is driven crazy by the quality?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    NSMike, 12 Sep 2006 @ 1:55pm

    Re: Verizon device lock-in will eventually make me

    You can hack your verizon phones... A friend of mine did it. Be aware that it voids the warranty, but you can unlock those features that Verizon wants to nickel and dime you for.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Jo Mamma, 12 Sep 2006 @ 1:56pm

    Machu Pichu

    Oh, in reference to the overseas quality, I will say this…

    I was recently fortunate enough to take a trip to Peru and visit "the lost city of the Incas".

    (Brief history) After the Spanish invaded, they basically took over every Incan city, with the exception of Machu Picchu. The city was (is) in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by craggy mountains -- a city which was built with raw stone by people's bare hands hundreds of years ago... But even more amazing than the story, even more amazing than the view was the fact that the cell phone service I had in Machu Picchu was better than the service I get in my own house in a major US city. I swear... I'm not joking.

    Down with civilization!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2006 @ 2:01pm

    Re: Re: Verizon device lock-in will eventually mak

    And if they detect that you did that, they will remove the device from the network.

    Now you've got a useless unlocked phone that has had its warranty voided.

    Buying software "features" from a service provider is redicilous when those features are ALREADY on the phone. Almost as redicilous as my spellig, I would say.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2006 @ 2:21pm

    I live in the Los Angeles, Orange County area. And I have to say that over the past couple of years I've been very happy with my Cingular service. I can't remember the last time I had a dropped call or no service. Now customer service, that's another story. Just a few months ago I vacationed in Italy. I called Cingular ahead of time to setup overseas service, only to find out when I landed in Rome that I had no service. I'm not going to spend my vacation time on the phone with Cingular so when I got back I called, only to find out that the overseas service wasn't added to my plan.

    Also I think that cell service has a lot to do with the quality of phone you purchase. Yea you might be able to get a free phone with a contract but spend the extra $100 on a quality phone, you won't regret it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    Yet another Anonymous Coward (profile), 12 Sep 2006 @ 2:40pm

    Sprint interesting issue

    I moved from California to Oklahoma, and Sprint continued to charge me California state taxes. I called, and a supervisor told me to contact my local state tax agency! So, I finally contacted the Oklahoma Tax Commision, and told them that they were missing my taxes. I never heard from them. But, I got a letter a month later from Sprint. They corrected the taxes, and credited me about $25. The kicker is that they got my name backwards on the letter, even using it through the text.

    If you want to compare service, ask about having a family plan across many states - any service based on a traditional telco can't, as they are regionally regulated. Only Sprint and T-Mobile can do it. When you have kids attending school out of state, this restricts your selections.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    Ron (profile), 12 Sep 2006 @ 2:46pm

    Overseas Service

    I had a full 5 bar signal with beautiful sound quality, while on a cruise ship, in the middle of the Adriatic, no land in sight in any direction (OK, let's see: earht's curature, plus height off the water on the boat = um, carry the 9, about 22 miles). I can't make a signal at my house in Novato (cell tower 1.5 miles as the radio waves fly but with a small mountain in the way).
    In my experience Cingular has about the better general service (ATT was better). Their customer service is really not that good. People read off of scripts, two separate and non-communicating departments to handle regular and "smart" phones (mine is the Treo 650 so I have to run through the first department for the triage and then, since they can never answer the question, I need to get transferred to the other department so they can talk about "smart" phones), and prices that are generally too high (well, they all are, but ...). Cingular's warranty replacement is pretty fast though.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Dotelpenguin, 12 Sep 2006 @ 2:58pm

    Re: Sprint's customer service is a human hamsterma

    The funny thing is I had the EXACT opposite problem. Cingular did to me what sprint did to you, and sprint took care of me. Gotta love it.

    Worst i've delt with is Tmobile. I bought a Ipaq from them, which never worked period. The techs could not make the internet it work on the Celular network, only the wifi. Keep in mind I paid for a unlimited dataservice that never worked. After 9 days I returned the phone, and they wanted me to pay for a month of data service. The same service they could never make work, the reason for the return. Finaly I get a manager to cancel fees. 3 months later I get letter from collections, They want $800+ for fees and service for the last 3 months of service. 20 hours of phone calls later they made me bring in the credit card receipt that proved I returned the phone. Problem goes away. untill 6 months later AGAIN when I get a $2000+ bill from collections for late fees and service on a phone I no longer own. Repeat call and yell, it was disasturous. it's been about 1 year since i've heard from them. Hopefully I won't get a court summions for $10,000 bill in the next few months. hehe

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Gulliver, 12 Sep 2006 @ 3:09pm

    Handset Upgrade Fee

    "Sprint and Cingular officials say these fees cover service and administrative costs associated with upgrading customers to a new handset."

    Bull! I can take my SIM card and stick it in any other GSM phone and it works perfectly.

    This should read;
    "Sprint and Cingular officials say these fees cover service and administrative costs associated with the 1 minute spent upgrading customers to a new handset by switching the SIM card to a new phone."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Jack Sombra, 12 Sep 2006 @ 3:24pm

    Re: Verizon device lock-in will eventually make me

    " There are several companies offering free incoming calls now"
    Rest of world points and laughs at silly yanks for accepting the inconceivable senario of paying for incoming calls

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Gimpy, 12 Sep 2006 @ 4:01pm

    Verizon VS. T-Mobile

    I had Verizon for about 5 years. The first 2 or 3 years I had pretty good luck with them. but then everything changed, I started dropping calls, customer service started to suck, costs kept rising, etc etc etc.

    Finelly after trying 5 different phones to fix my dropping calls problem, (I was dropping over 50% of my calls) I dropped them and went with T-Mobile. I can't believe how happy I am now. I have dropped 3 calls in the last 7 months. Coverage isn't as good as Verizon, but when I get coverage, I get coverage. No more dropped calls!!!!!!

    So far customer service has been fine, only a few calls to them, but all handled very well. My monthly bill has been exactly how much I think it should be, no more suprises like with Verizion.

    All in all, I am very happy with my T-Mobile, and oh, I got the Motorola SLVR L7, this phone Rocks.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    chris, 12 Sep 2006 @ 4:16pm

    Re: Overseas Service

    that's because the cruise ship had a satellite based repeater on it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Celes, 12 Sep 2006 @ 4:20pm


    That's odd; I generally have better reception with the basic phones. Nearly every time I get one with all the bells and whistles, I start dropping calls and getting fewer bars.

    That camera's neat, but the main function of my phone (for me) is talking to people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    obilesk, 12 Sep 2006 @ 4:48pm

    Cell phones

    I guess if having a cell is a necessity for business or whatever, it would get expensive quick; but I have a fairly basic Samsung clamshell with prepaid verizon service. I paid $80 for the phone and 35 for the activation and minutes. I spend $30-45 a month buying minutes with their cards you can pickup just about anywhere. Hell, I have a $15 and a $30 card in my wallet that I can have a clerk swipe to give me a PIN when I need it if that store is out of that particular denomination (they sell 15, 30, 50, and $100 cards). Great reception,NEVER a dropped call, good phone, no contract, voicemail, caller ID, etc. Works for me and it's cheap compared to a plan they can lock you into and sneak a bucha hidden fees onto.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    james, 12 Sep 2006 @ 7:22pm


    have had tmobile for years with no complaints. worked without a hitch when i traveled to europe.

    oh, and best deals on new phones are at amazon.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    jerry, 12 Sep 2006 @ 7:53pm

    I don't know about any one else but I have NEVER had a problom with T-mobile.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2006 @ 8:04pm

    what a joke?

    The US is meant to be the big leader in technology for the masses, and it's lagging so far behind? So can someone explain to me why, one cell tower from one company can not be used by another company (at a cost of course!) It's called line leasing duh! And paying for incoming calls hahaha.

    So whats next charges per button on a phone.. yes sir you can have buttons 1 - 5 for $5 a month but if you pay $5 more we'll let you use buttons 6- 0 and throw in the use of # * for free ....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    The thoughtful 1, 12 Sep 2006 @ 8:12pm

    Re: Verizon VS. T-Mobile

    i think verizon changed owners..............that was the problem.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    corny philosopher, 12 Sep 2006 @ 11:49pm

    Re: what a joke?

    its real weird what i hear bout the cell phone service in US.. I live in Egypt , i have a vodaphone sim, an it is just perfect. its price is resonable, good service, etc.

    HOW COME!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Prof_X, 13 Sep 2006 @ 12:33am

    T-mobile....whats up with my voicemail?!?!

    First off, I'm a very easy person to please...and right off the bat I hate Cingular with a passion...

    When peers ask what I though about my mobile carrier T-mobile, I couldn't think of anything to complain about... I mean, it was good, never experience dropped calls, good reception, what else can you ask for? However, as of recently, I do have something to complain about.... For some unknown reason, I get voicemails a week or two later! By the time I do get it and return the call, I look like an idiot... I check my voicemail every 2-3 days max, unless I miss a call, and it's just impossible for me to miss a message from a week, the worse case scenario two weeks, ago. Are they secretly being screened by the government prior in regards to national security?!?! Is it some sort of parental control feature I, account holder who is of legal age, was unaware of...?! Am I the only one who has this problem?!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    Brad Eleven, 13 Sep 2006 @ 10:09am

    Re: Seriously, why does cell phone service suck

    It's going to suck in the US for some time to come, because it was invented here.

    What you need for a good signal: Antennae (or repeaters) close to you.

    After Sprint bought the company I worked for, we got all kinds of info from them about Sprint PCS. They bragged in Houston that they ran out of phones every single day--until they got so far behind in putting up antennae that almost everyone with a PCS phone in Houston cursed them. Then they got all innovative and started putting antennae in church steeples.

    Another problem: Given that the US is the ultimate early adopter, more upgrades are needed.

    Hey, Jack Sombra: US continues to point and laugh at rest of world for accepting the inconceivable scenario of paying for hard-wired phone service by the minute.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. identicon
    Rest of the world, 13 Sep 2006 @ 7:03pm

    Re: Re: Verizon device lock-in will eventually mak

    pointing and laughing out loud at yanks because their still paying for incoming calls and text messages...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Addis, 14 Sep 2006 @ 8:14am

    I hate Cingular. I don't know how come u don't?

    6 years of Cingular customer. I have been w/ them since AT&T changed to Cingular. I can't say anything good about them. Service is the worst by far. Hidden charges are unbelieveable. Drop calls are enormous. Lack of network services are routines and upsetting. I am going to T-mobile b/c I love GSM service and I hear good things about T-mobile. Don't think about joining cingular if you're in the right state of mind.
    Thank You.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. identicon
    A frustrated customer, 20 Sep 2006 @ 8:58am


    I am a T-Mobile customer. Recently whenever I tried to call a number, usually an answering machine kicked in. I was occassionaly lucky to find somebody to talk.

    You hear your phone ringing, but actually it is not ringing on the other end; after a while answering service starts asking you to leave a message.

    I tried to send a complaint through their website, it is temporarily out of service-I waited about 2 hours to send the e-mail. No chance.

    I phoned their tech department, an untrained person with limited knowledge asnwered me, it took me 15 minutes to explain her the problem. She was confused I asked to talk to her supervisior. She was not helpful either.

    Yesterday 3 of my friends switched to another company frustrated with the same problem. I told her, she wanted to use me as a test case. I told her it is not my phones only but there so many people around me having the same problem, but she was not able to comprehend the serious nature of the problem. She insisted that I should agree to be her test case. I had no time for them. Neither have I any intention of helping them by spending another 2 hours or so. It is their problem, I can easliy swith to another company by paying a switching cost. What is the point of paying T-Moibile around 100 dollars per month if you are not able to use their services?

    It is pitty, you can not reach to some high level people to inform them what is going on. So called award winning customer services-they all claim more or less the same-have no link to reach a higher authority within the company.

    As a loyal T-Mobile customer, I feel very sorry, I may consider swithing to another service provider.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. identicon
    real life, 21 Sep 2006 @ 9:12pm

    all the suffering in the world and all you sick consumers can do is worry about a luxury. I hope one day it all goes down so the weak materialists die off... try worrying about something of value

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. identicon
    William V, 3 Oct 2006 @ 10:34pm

    Love to hate T-Mobile!!

    I love the customer service YES, but my service area sucks I moved to a new home and I get two bars if I am lucky and am now stuck with paying 400 dollars to get out of the plan for my wife and I....CINGULAR save me. Besides these charges on my bill that seem a bit redundant you all tell me what you think?

    Federal Universal Service Fund 0.83
    State Sales Tax 1.98
    County Sales Tax 0.80
    City License Tax 2.30
    Local Sales Tax .80

    What is the difference between a local tax and a city tax sure a town is smaller than a city but come on I am not stupid this local tax seems like a joke.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. identicon
    William V., 3 Oct 2006 @ 10:40pm

    Re: Love to hate T-Mobile!!

    Also there is a fee called a Regulatory Program fee that has a star next to it and the "star" down below explains that this is a fee collected to cover the cost related to funding and complying with government mandates(not laws) programs and obligations. and the website I went to look this up say that this fee is to help keep all mobile phone cost low for all americans?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. identicon
    David, 14 Oct 2006 @ 1:41pm

    Re: Verizon device lock-in will eventually make me

    If you want to keep your Verizon service, I would look up hacking the phone to enable the features that you want. It is what I did with my RAZR and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. identicon
    monil, 18 Oct 2006 @ 10:46am


    hi how are do everyone know why are they getting charge for incoming sms and voice calls because they are making money fromt both the sides and they are cheating with us so we have to cut off the cellphone so they will know that what they are doing

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. identicon
    Gertraud Breitkopf, 3 Nov 2006 @ 8:34am

    Re: Re: Sprint's customer service is a human hamst

    I have had the same horrible experience with T-mobile. They charged me after I had canceled the canceled contract. Figure that. My husband put the screws to them and they finally backed off but not after nasty nasty conversations. But Verizon tops them all. I had a family plan and when my husband died, they would not cancel his contract They figured I am sure that I would not sue over the remainder of the contract. Thankfully I had only a one-year contract. I sent a nasty note to the CEO and the general councel of Verizon,but they did not even answer. So I am now cancelling only using letters. I need to get another company and I don't know what to use anymore. I know how you felt with this crap from T-mobile. Gertraud

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. identicon
    t-mobile voice mail is a waste!, 13 Nov 2006 @ 11:04am

    Re: T-mobile....whats up with my voicemail?!?!

    yes, i'm having the same problem. now i can't get into my voicemail at all!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. identicon
    KD, 14 Nov 2006 @ 7:39pm

    Re: Sprint's customer service is a human hamsterma

    I bought a phone from Sprint for my business Oct. 4th, 2006. Some how Sprint puts the phone, not under my name, not under my business name, but under my husband's name and his personal account. Mind you, my husband wasn't even in the same state, much less with me at the time of purchase. It is now Nov. 14th and I still can't get Sprint to solve the problem. Why? Because customer service really is a hamster maze. From Hell. It took three days and HOURS of hold time to get through to some one who might have the skills to help me, and then my mobile died in the middle of if because it took hours to get through to the manager. Just tonight I was transferred three times and mysteriously the calls were dropped by customer service each time. Without resolving the issue of course. I'm dropping Sprint for my business and personal as soon as I can navigate the maze from hell in order to do just that. Think I should just go down to the store to solve the problem? Been there, done that, have the shirt and still no service.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. identicon
    JL, 23 Nov 2006 @ 12:13pm

    T-Mobile vs Sprint

    I've been with Sprint for over 10 years and reception and service has gone way downhill. Three years ago when I started service with T-Mobile, Sprint was much better. Now they are about even, perhaps I'd give a slight edge to T-Mobile. I'm in NYC. I find customer service at T-Mobile to be much nicer than Sprint. When the contract for our family plan expires with Sprint in a few months, we will either port our numbers to T-Mobile or Cingular. T-Mobile has been good. I like buying my own unlocked phones and surfing the internet via T-Mobile Web on Operamini for $5.99.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37. identicon
    hmmm..., 2 Apr 2008 @ 12:30pm


    I love T-Mobile.

    The customer service is awesome. and though sometimes i dont get the answer i want, they are completely fair, which means i know they have my back if they ever make an error, which has yet to happen.

    When the hurricane hit in LA and our surroundign areas, there were tmobile stores that would let us and everyone else use their phones, and they even sent people from their own company to help. I have never been a customer of a company i felt actually cared, when i called in freaking out about everything, the made sure that i changed my plan before the overage was even billed. they were nice and sweet and actually asked about my family to make sure we were all okay. and because of all the help they gave during that time, i wont leave. my phone was destroyed, and i had no way to communicate, so they worked with meto get a new one. it blew me away.

    i dont care if i have to sign contract after contract, i love em.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38. identicon
    Dallas, 22 Jan 2009 @ 12:13am


    What in tha hell is your malfunction, that has to be one of the most stupid coments i have ever read on a subject!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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