Alltel is greedy, incompetent, and should be avoided at all costs
ATLANTA, GEORGIA -- I am active duty Air Force, and I purchased my cell-phone in March of 2006 in Phoenix after returning from the Middle East. I had orders to Atlanta, and the representative assured me that it would work in Atlanta, otherwise I could return it. Alltel, when they work, work impeccably. Rates were reasonable, reception was never lacking, I traveled all over the United States, and their website is easy to navigate and understand.
In December of 2007, my cell-phone got wet, and the battery went bad, my fault, absolutely. I found out I was eligible for a new phone on December 13th. I was able to keep my cell phone working on one of those ridiculously weak $1 batteries off of eBay until January 14th, when I visited family and celebrated a late Christmas in Arizona where I renewed my contract and got a new phone.
This new phone was scratched on the plexiglass on the front cover, but because I am hard on cell-phones, I didn't mind one scratch because I figured there would be many more, soon. I should have looked deeper into this.
I instantly noticed the battery only lasted about 11-hours per charge when I wasn't speaking on it. I chalked it up to a weak battery, but 11 hours isn't terrible. I returned to Atlanta after a few days and the battery life kept declining. I noticed I also didn't have reception where I used to have reception. At 6-hours of battery life, I called Alltel to see how they would help me. This was on the 25th of January, 11 days after I took receipt of the phone, well within the 15-day return policy.
I was informed that I had several options, I could take it to a local store, of which there are none in Atlanta, or they might be able to do a mail replacement. My best bet, they said was to take the phone to a store 64 miles away, about two-hours with traffic. For some reason, I expected a call-back, I can't remember if I was told to expect this or not, I'll assume I was in the wrong, and after a week, I called back. At this point the battery lasted about 5-hours off the charger.
I was given the number for the store 64 miles away and told to call them. This is where I started to get frustrated with Alltel, no-one works together in their customer service departments. Whoever heard of customer-service telling a customer to call someone to work on the phone? What is customer service's job if they are merely to tell you whom to call for customer service?
I called the retail store, and they said they would replace the battery and/or phone if I brought it in, but they understood my frustration at driving so far, and recommended I try a replacement by mail.
So I called customer service again. They informed me that they could send me a new phone, but it wouldn't come with a battery. How worthless is that? They said the problem probably was that I had an Arizona number in Georgia, a problem I never had with my last phone. They offered me a new number, but I didn't need a new number, I needed a new battery, which they couldn't arrange. I told the girl that I would drive to the store and they would replace my battery. She said, "The note here only says they'll look at the phone." There is no way I was going to drive four hours round trip for them to look at my phone, which only needed a battery.
She recommended I call the store that I bought the phone from. Here is the worst part about Alltel. I was informed that I did not get my phone at an Alltel store, despite the great-big Alltel sign hanging on the store and the Alltel logos on the employee's shirts. Because I did not get the phone from Alltel, I should contact the store, and see what they could do. Alltel is incompetent when it comes to intercompany communication. She gave me the number.
I called the store, and the phone was hooked to a fax machine. I gave the store and the customer service girl the benefit of the doubt, we all make mistakes and maybe the phone wasn't hooked to a fax machine, but that she's accidentally given me the wrong number. I looked it up on Alltel's website, and indeed, their only number listed is hooked to a fax machine.
At this point I wanted to have my ducks in a row, so I compiled the list of reps I had talked to, both with happy faces and frowny faces based on their level of helpfulness, and I flipped through my phone to see my call history of when I had called "Customer Service". At this point I noticed that there were calls from the 12th of January, two days before I got the phone. There were about two dozen calls from the 5th of January to the 12th, and also a dozen text messages. It was a used phone. Probably returned for the exact same problems I was now having.
I called and explained what I had just found, and that if the problem could not be resolved, I was leaving Alltel. At this point, my battery was dying at 4-hours without use, and with the calling into Alltel, it was dead. I work part-time in ministry and cannot go without a cell-phone. It can literally be the difference between life and death.
February 5th, I signed a new contract with a different cell-phone company, got a new (actually new) phone, and canceled my service with Alltel.
I called to find out what we were going to do about the cancellation fee of $200, since their incompetent representatives were unable to resolve my issues. I got bounced around the company again, talked to a customer service rep, a billing agent, a customer service rep, and finally got the third rep to transfer me to a supervisor. He told me to call the store I bought my phone at.
So here I am, happily rid of Alltel for the cost of $200, and in possession of a dead used "new" cell phone that is less than four weeks old, but happily with a new company with a new non-Alltel/non-Alltel affiliate cell-phone.
Not once during my calls with Alltel did they offer me a new battery, assurance that if I drove four-hours, they would replace my phone, or any sort of monetary discount. When I first started service with my first cell-phone company in 2000, I had a cell-phone self destruct under warranty, and it took me three days to get an opportunity to replace it, they gave me a brand new cell-phone and my money back for those three days. What's so hard about that for Alltel to understand?
Alltel is greedy, incompetent, and should be avoided at all costs.